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Illustration of New Job Support Scheme breakdown. Credit Tourism South East
COVID 19 - Latest News
July 2020 Updates
MHCLG has published details of the £20m of funding for SMEs that builds on the £10m fund announced previously to help tourism SMEs. Like the tourism kick-start funding, the new scheme is being allocated through the Growth Hubs to LEPs for distribution. I have attached an copy of a paper that provides a breakdown of how much has been allocated to each LEP.
The funding must be to directly respond to the impact of COVID-19 and can include:
one-to-many events providing guidance to respond to coronavirus
small grants (£1,000 - £5,000) to either:
help visitor economy businesses access specialist professional advice e.g. human resources, accountants, legal, financial, IT / digital
purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify The funding is being provided to address immediate needs and all grants must be awarded by 28 February 2021 and all activity fully completed by 31 March 2021.
Here’s link to the prime minister’s speech at lunchtime where he delayed the lifting of restrictions planned for tomorrow until at least the 15th August and announced that facemasks would be required for more indoor venues. We are still trying to find out the full list of venues that facemask wearing will be mandatory and will get back to you as soon as possible on this. It is also worth noting that he stated that he has asked the Home Secretary to work with the police to ensure existing rules are being properly enforced and that local authorities close down premises and cancel events which are not following
Attached is some pretty horrific figures that DCMS have just published on the impact the Coronavirus and social distancing are having on visitor numbers at the national Museums. At the moment only four of the Museums are open – the National Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, The Wallace Collection and Royal Museums Greenwich. The figures show that footfall at these museums is averaging just 8.5% of what it was compared to the average of the comparative period over the last three years.
ONS have produced their latest Social Impacts research update which has some relevant findings for tourism businesses.
While 34% of people say that they are comfortable eating inside at a restaurant, 42% of people say that they are not comfortable with doing this
Only 12% of people are comfortable using an indoor gym, 13% are comfortable using an indoor swimming pool and 19% feel comfortable using an outdoor swimming pool.
Job Retention Bonus Scheme
employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021
employees must earn at least £520 (the National Insurance lower earnings limit) a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January
those who were furloughed and had a claim submitted after the 10 June (when the CJRS closed to new entrants), because they were returning from paternal leave or time serving as a military reservist will also be eligible for the bonus as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria
employers will also be eligible for employee transfers protected under TUPE legislation, provided they have been continuously employed and meet the other eligibility criteria and the new employer has also submitted a CJRS claim for that employee
View full details of the job retention bonus scheme
Guidance on how HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income has been updated to include that losses are not included in your non-trading calculation.
Guidance on how different circumstances affect the scheme has been updated to include what supporting evidence you may be asked for if having a new child affected the trading profits you reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019.
New guidance has been published on how to pay back some of the SEISS grant if you’ve been overpaid, made a claim in error and were not eligible for the grant or would like to make a voluntary repayment
New guidance has been published on claiming for individuals who are paid through PAYE but not necessarily employees in employment law.
Guidance on calculating how much you can claim has been updated with information on claim periods ending on or before 31 August 2020.
Weekly data (up to end of Sunday 12 July) for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is now available.
HMT management information about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme has been updated with the new weekly stats up to 12 July
Updated data is available (up until 12 July) on how local authorities have received and distributed funding to support small and medium businesses in England during coronavirus.
New statistics analysing the monthly growth for the production and services industries between April 2020 and May 2020, highlighting the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been published.
Information about how spoilt beer can be re-purposed has been updated.
Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are now allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed COVID-19 secure guidelines.
Anyone may now use public transport but will still be encouraged to use alternative means of transport where possible.
Guidance on returning to work will be updated. Businesses will have more discretion on how they ensure employees can work safely, including working from home or by following COVID-19 secure guidelines
Most remaining leisure settings – bowling, skating rinks, casinos – as well as close-contact beauty services will be allowed to reopen in line with COVID-19 secure guidelines. Particularly high risk activities and settings such as nightclubs and soft play will remain closed.
Indoor live performances will restart in line with COVID-19 secure guidelines, subject to the success of pilots taking place this month.
Pilots will be conducted for larger gatherings such as business events and events in sports stadia in late July. These will be carefully monitored and evaluated to inform future decisions on any further relaxation of the rules, with a view to building up to and preparing for a full, socially distanced return in the autumn.
Wedding receptions with sit-down meals for up to 30 people will be allowed, subject to COVID-19 secure guidelines.
Exhibition and conference centres will be allowed to show their facilities to socially distanced groups of up to 30 people for the planning of future events. They should not be open fully to open events more widely.
Schools, nurseries and colleges to open on a full time basis
All types of events, e.g. trade shows, consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences will be allowed (at a capacity that can allow for compliance with social distancing of 2m, or 1m with mitigation). Where such events involve people speaking loudly for prolonged periods of time, any mitigation must include particular attention to the ventilation of the spaces. This will also be subject to the latest public health advice.
Close businesses and venues in whole sectors (such as food production or non-essential retail), or within a defined geographical area such as towns or counties
Impose general restrictions on movement of people - including requirements to stay at home or to prevent people staying away from home overnight, or restrictions on entering or leaving a defined area
Impose restrictions on gatherings by limiting how many people can meet and whether they can travel in and out of an area to do so
Restrict local or national transport systems by closing them entirely, or introducing capacity limits or geographical restrictions
Mandate use of face coverings in a wider range of public places
Against a challenging backdrop of decreasing general optimism around COVID-19 in the UK, there has been some growth in confidence in visiting attractions
Those previously claiming that they would revisit ‘as soon as the opportunity arises’ appear to be true to their word, with 21% of the market (around 8.5m adults) claiming to have already visited since reopening
Among those visiting attractions since reopening, the reaction to safety measures has been fairy good although nervousness among visitors to attractions which were only allowed to open recently is apparent
However, around half the attractions-visiting market remains stubbornly cautious about visiting. Main visit barrier is lack of confidence in attractions’ ability to control distancing, led by concerns over fellow visitors’ compliance
Early returning is much less likely among the older generation and those who are not working
There is strong evidence that the ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark will have a much-needed, major positive impact upon visit confidence and almost a quarter of the market already claim to have seen this mark
There is clear and increasing demand for a full visit experience to be available on reopening, with significant proportions not visiting if services and facilities were to be closed. Opening with mitigation measures is better than remaining closed
As indoor attractions reopen, high anxiety in the market remains around indoor facilities – especially toilets, catering outlets, interactive visit elements and events. Demonstrating and communicating safety measures pre-visit will be even more critical than for outdoor attractions
Two-thirds of the market would feel more comfortable about visiting an attraction if face coverings were compulsory. This is a significant growth since June and reflects wider public opinion and growth in use in recent weeks. Is now the time to take the socially responsible line and embrace their use in attractions?
Restaurants and pubs can open. Indoor hospitality is limited to table services and contact details will need to be collected from customers.
People will be free to stay in self-contained accommodation including hotels, B&Bs, and campsites – so long as shared facilities can be kept clean.
Tourist attractions will be able to reopen if they can do so safely, outside gyms and playgrounds can also open.
Places of worship will be able to reopen, weddings can take place with up to 30 guests.
Close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft play, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will remain closed. Taskforces will be established to help them become COVID secure.
Indoor facilities for sports will remain closed, and close contact sports should only happen with people from the same household.
Two households of any size will be able to meet in any setting (inside or outside), they do not have to be the same household each time. They are not recommending multiple households meet indoors.
Outside, the guidance remains that people from several households of up to six, or two households can meet regardless of size.
Hairdressers will be able to open with visors, nail bars will be able to follow when they are confident they can open in a COVID secure way.
As of 3rd July
Guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace
The following businesses providing an on-site service are required to collect and maintain data of staff, customers and visitors upon re-opening:
- Hospitality, including pubs, bars and restaurants (it does not apply to businesses operating a takeaway/delivery only basis).
- Tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
- Facilities provided by local authorities including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres.
- Places of worship including use for events and other community activities.
The information businesses should collect:
- The names of staff who work at the premises
- A contact phone number for each member of staff
- The dates and times that staff are at work
Customers and visitors:
- The name of the customer or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group.
- A contact phone number for each customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people.
- Date of visit and arrival and, where possible, departure time.
- If a customer will interact with only one member of staff (e.g. a hairdresser), the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer.
This data needs to be kept for 21 days. You should collect this information in a way that is manageable for your establishment.
Guidance on collection and maintenance of data from Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The ICO has also published a statement and a short data protection checklist for protecting customer data:
- Ask for only what’s needed
- Be transparent with customers and what the information is being used for
- Store the data carefully
- Don’t use it for other purposes
- Erase the data in line with the government guidelines
Coronavirus Travel Corridors
The Government has today announced that passengers returning or visiting from around 60 destinations including France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Australia, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England from 10 July 2020. All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK, including details of countries or territories they have been in or through during the previous 14 days. Existing public health advice on hand hygiene, face coverings and social distancing must also be followed.
The Devolved Administrations will set out their own approach to exemptions, and so passengers returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there.
£10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package announced
The Government has today announced a new package to support small businesses in tourist destinations. Grants of up to £5,000 will be available to help adapt businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding will be able to be used to pay for specialist professional advice, to adopt new technology and online systems, or to purchase new equipment.
Funding will be allocated to each Local Growth Hub based on how much of their employment base is linked to tourism and hospitality businesses. We will share more information when available.
Other Government updates
- Businesses will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis time from 1 July. The flexibility includes hours and shift patterns of employees.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme page has also been updated with new information including employees being able to be recorded as on furlough during time spent on holiday, how to calculate furloughed hours for different sets of circumstances and how to treat statutory payments received in the claim period.
New examples for how a business could be adversely affected by coronavirus have been added to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) claim page.
June Updates 2020
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday regarding the re-opening plans for a number of tourism businesses in England from 4 July, the visitor economy guidance has been published.
The guidance is aimed at business owners, operators and workers in the following areas:
- hotels and other guest accommodation (including self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, hostels, camping, holiday homes, caravan parks, boats and other types of accommodation including short-term letting). This guidance should be read in conjunction with the working safely in hotels and other accommodation guidance.
- indoor and outdoor attractions (e.g. arcades, walking tours, theme parks, family entertainment centres, static funfairs, zoos, and aquariums). The events and entertainment guidance may also be useful for attractions that move around (e.g. roving funfair)s to be published shortly.
- business events and consumer shows (e.g. events taking place in meetings, conference, convention and exhibition centres). Business conferences, events, exhibitions and trade fairs are not currently allowed to take place in England.
The guidance should also be read in conjunction with the working safely guidance, the safer travel guidance and other available sector guidance.
New social distancing guidance, a list of businesses that can open from 4 July and updated guidance for restaurants, pubs and bars has also been made available.
The Prime Minister has announced today the re-opening plans for a number of tourism businesses in England from 4 July, providing the conditions laid out in the Government’s roadmap are met.
In the announcement, it was outlined that from 4 July in England:
- The two metre social distancing rule will be relaxed to one metre plus. Where it is possible to remain two metres you should continue to do so, but where this is not possible it should be a ‘one metre plus’ policy. New guidance will be published to support businesses – including changing office layouts, protective screens, closing non-essential communal areas etc.
- Restaurants and pubs can open. Indoor hospitality is limited to table services and contact details will need to be collected from customers.
- People will be free to stay in self-contained accommodation including hotels, B&Bs and campsites – so long as shared facilities can be kept clean.
- Tourist attractions will be able to reopen if they can do so safely, outside gyms and playgrounds can also open.
- Places of worship will be able to reopen, weddings can take place with up to 30 guests.
- Close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft play, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will remain closed. Taskforces will be established to help them become COVID secure.
- Indoor facilities for sports will remain closed, and close contact sports should only happen with people from the same household.
- Two households of any size will be able to meet in any setting (inside or outside), they do not have to be the same household each time. They are not recommending multiple households meet indoors.
- Outside, the guidance remains that people from several households of up to six, or two households can meet regardless of size.
Guidelines will be published for these reopening sectors. We will share these as soon as they are available.
Round-up of other recent updates
Updated guidance for accommodation providers if a guest displays symptoms of COVID-19
If a guest is displaying signs of the COVID-19 virus while staying in overnight accommodation for a permitted reason, they should inform the accommodation provider, immediately self-isolate where they are to minimise any risk of transmission, and request a test. If they are confirmed to have COVID-19, they should return home if they reasonably can. If a guest cannot reasonably return home (for example because they are not well enough to travel or do not have the means to arrange transport), their circumstances should be discussed with an appropriate health care professional and, if necessary, the local authority. Guests should follow Government guidance on dealing with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme template updates
A new template is available for employers who will be claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The new form is for claims on or after 1 July.
Commercial property code of practice announced
The Government has extended measures to prevent struggling companies from eviction until the end of September. A new code of practice has been developed with the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported.
The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund FAQ has been updated to provide information on websites and local authority delivery partners. Table 1 has been updated to reflect activities that are in or out of the scope of the Fund.
- The VAT payment deferral period ends on 30 June. Information about the end of the deferral period has been updated.
- A YouTube video offering guidance on how to make a claim for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been updated.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance updated:
Revised guidance has been published giving more detail on forthcoming changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) following the Chancellor's announcement last month. This includes:
- From 1 July, employers can only claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least three consecutive weeks between 1 March–30 June.
- From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the CJRS grant for the hours not worked.
- From 1 August, the level of the grant will be gradually reduced. No grant will be available for Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions from 1 August, these contributions will remain payable by the employer.
- From 1 September, employers will also be asked to contribute towards the cost of their furloughed employees’ wages to ensure they continue to receive at least 80% of their wages for the time they are on furlough.
- Parents returning from maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and parental bereavement leave after 10 June are exempt from the cut-off date for new entrants. This applies to employers who have previously submitted a claim for any other employee (between 1 March-30 June). Employees need to have started the leave before 10 June and be returning after 10 June and need to have been on their employers’ PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.
- HMRC are running two webinars - Thursday 18 June, 9:45-10:45 and Friday 19 June, 11:45-12:45 - giving an overview of the changes to the scheme, how employers will be affected, flexible furloughing, key dates and support available. Sign up here.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme guidance update:
Updated guidance is available on the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Eligible individuals are able to claim a second and final grant in August.
- Those eligible for the first grant must claim on or before 13 July 2020.
- Applications for the second grant will open in August.
- The eligibility criteria remain the same as the first SEISS grant.
- Those claiming for the second grant will have to confirm that their business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020.
- Individuals can claim for the second grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant.
Guidance published for aviation passengers and operators, inland and coastal boats:
- The Government has published new guidance for aviation passengers and operators, setting out advice for air travellers and measures that operators should implement to protect against the spread of coronavirus.
- The guidance for passengers covers the travel experience step by step, including advice on journey planning, social distancing, cleaning, face coverings, use of PPE and ventilation.
- The guidance for operators has been published to help manage risks from coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide safer workplaces and services for workers and passengers.
- New guidance has also been published on using a boat inland or on the coast.
- Review the latest guidance for other transport and travel sectors here.
Updated guidance for holiday accommodation providers on accommodating those arriving into the UK:
- Businesses providing holiday accommodation can provide rooms to those required to self-isolate because they have arrived in England from outside the UK, or arrived in England from elsewhere in the UK but have within the preceding 14 days been outside the UK. Read the guidance to find out more.
Other Government updates:
- The green spaces guidance has been updated with information on the reopening of animal attractions.
- The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) has drawn together important security considerations for businesses in financial distress, including those in insolvency or administration, either directly or as a third party.
- The FAQ for the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund has been updated.
- The working safely during coronavirus guidance has been updated to reflect industry feedback in the areas of managing product handling and returns, the test and trace service, safer travel and managing security risks.
- Additional information has been added to the guidance on certain expenses covering paying travel and subsistence expenses to an employee travelling to a temporary workplace.
- A new section on returning office equipment has been added to the Check which expenses are taxable if your employees work from home due to coronavirus (COVID-19) page
Tools and resources available:
- A new platform called Digital Boost has been launched. The platform hosts a community of digital experts who will offer one-to-one digital support to small businesses free of charge.
- The High Streets Task Force has announced that they will provide access to tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the government’s efforts to get shops back in business safely from 15 June. This support is open to local councils and all organisations involved with high streets and will include free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.
Update to the Business Advice Hub:
We have published a new page on our Business Advice Hub for businesses getting ready to open. The page includes information, advice and links to guidance on reopening along with practical information on operating under social distancing guidelines.
- The PM announced that from Monday 15 June, atttractions where people are in the cars can open for visitors, including safari parks and open-air cinemas. The outdoor areas of zoos can also open if they follow Government guidance on social distancing.
- Also from 15 June, all non-essential retail shops can open for business, as long as COVID-19 safety rules are adhered to. The Government is working towards 4 July 2020 as a target date to reopen the hospitality and service sectors including pubs and restaurants.
8 June: Business Secretary launches working groups to help plan economic recovery
Business Secretary Alok Sharma is creating five new business-focused groups as part of the Government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. Focused on five key themes, each group will explore how business can work with Government to deliver economic growth and jobs:
- The future of industry: How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development
- Green recovery: How to capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero carbon emissions
- Backing new businesses: How to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business
- Increasing opportunity: How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships
- The UK open for business: How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK
Further details including membership of the five working groups will be published in due course.
8 June: Transport operators are required to provide information about coronavirus and health information to all passengers travelling to England by sea, air or rail, from outside the common travel area, at 3 stages of the passenger journey: the booking stage, the check-in stage and on-board the vessel, aircraft or train.
5 June: Updated COVID-19 advice has been published for accommodation providers. The advice still states that businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses, and short term lets) should remain closed for leisure related stays. No person should stay overnight away from their own home for a holiday or similar purpose. Included in the guidance is advice for businesses who provide holiday accommodation and how they can accommodate those required to self-isolate. From 8 June, certain individuals travelling from overseas will be required by law to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. Businesses providing holiday accommodation can provide rooms to those required to self-isolate because they have arrived in England from outside the UK, or arrived in England from elsewhere in the UK but have within the preceding 14 days been outside the UK. Accommodation for these purposes should adhere to the same guidelines as for other permitted stays, including on social distancing and cleaning. Read the full guidance on Gov.uk
4 June: The Government has announced that Trade Credit Insurance, which provides cover to business-to-business transactions, will receive up to £10 billion of government guarantees. The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme, which has been agreed with the insurance sector, will see the vast majority of Trade Credit Insurance coverage maintained across the UK. The guarantees will support supply chains and help businesses to trade during the coronavirus pandemic and continue to be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment. The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and available from insurers operating in the UK market.
3 June: New border measures will be introduced from 8 June, there will be new rules in place for entering the UK because due to COVID-19. The rules are for residents and visitors. When these rules are in place, people will need to provide their journey and contact details when they travel to the UK and will have to self-isolate and will not be allowed to leave the place they are staying for the first 14-days they are in the UK except in very limited situations. Arrivals will not need to complete the form or self-isolate if they are travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man if they were there for 14 days or more. Some travellers, including some specific workers, will be exempt from new English border rules.
1 June: The Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund has opened. The grant is for small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible.
August 2020 Updates
As of 11 September 2020 - 'Safe Six' Update
Since Tuesday evening there has been a lot of concern expressed 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 a Covid-Secure way, along with some specified exceptions, will continue to be allowed to do so - provided that individual groups of visitors/guests meet together in groups of no more than six people.
Close Contact Services
Hotels and other Guest Accommodation
Restaurants, Pubs and Bars
The Visitor Economy
Updated Coronavirus FAQs: what you can and can’t do. These are a useful set of FAQs which go a long way to provide some clarification on this complex situation.
From Monday 15 Septemberpeople 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.
A new campaign to prevent the spread of the pandemic over the winter has been formulated with the branding of Hands, Face, Space.
DCMS has announced that the proposed pilot schemes for spectators at sports matches are to be scaled back to just 1000 attendees
The latest edition of DFT's transport monitor has been released 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.
From 18 September it will be required by law that many of us operating in the sector will need to k eep a record of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days as part of the NHS Test and Trace system, although there are some exceptions.
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
As of 16 September 2020 - Insurance Judgement
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 email@example.com 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.
A copy of the FCA Press Release can be found here
The FCA legal team have also put together a copy of a summary of the Judgement
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.”
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 guidence on undertaking sporting activities with other people which includes activities such as horse riding and swimming.
And here is the guidence as it relates to team sports.
As at 22 September 2020 - PM's announcement - Increased Restrictions
The PM has announced the following rules from Thursday 24 September 2020 in England:
The planned reopening of conferences, exhibitions and events on 1st Oct has been suspended
Pubs, restaurants and bars will have to close at 10pm (except for takeaways)
Only “table-only” service will be allowed at pubs, restaurants and bars
Staff in retail and indoor hospitality will have to wear masks
The Covid-secure workplace guidance will become a legal obligation.
The number of people able to attend a wedding is being reduced to 15 from the previous 30
The £10,000 fines imposed on those who don't quarantine will now be applied to businesses and the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking rule of six will double to £200.
Exemptions to the “rule of six” will be reduced.
People have been asked to work from home if they can.
Here’s a copy of the Prime Minister’s Statement to Parliament
A few clarifications from this
The restriction on people attending Weddings is from Monday
Take-aways will subject to the 10pm curfew – it is deliveries that are excempt
Staff and customers in indoor hospitality will have to wear mask except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
He also announced that these new restrictions will most likely be in place for six months
With thanks Tourism Alliance
As at 23 September 2020 - New Restrictions -Further Detail
New restrictions in England due to rising coronavirus cases
- 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 (please note this means you have to shut at 10pm). 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- For further details on what has changed please visit the Government website.
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 distanced
For up to date guidence please visit the Governemnt website on meeting with others safely.
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
- 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.
As at 24 September 2020 - Further Clarifications
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).
As at 28 September 2020 - HM Tresurary Update
To be eligible an employee must work at least 33% of their normal hours. In this example, of the remaining portion of the employee’s hours, the employer will pay a third (22% of the total) and the Government will do the same. This will give an employee 77% of their full pay.
The level of the grant will be based on an employees’ usual salary and capped at £697.92 per month
The scheme will run from six months from 1st November
Large businesses will have to prove that they have been adversely affected by Covid-19 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 (furlough scheme) in the past
As of 7 October 2020
Updated Guidance for Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Take Away Services
The Working Safely during Coronavirus Guidance Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Takeaway Services has been updated in relation to taking payments and guidance on
on taking payments from customers has been updated to allow for customers to pay at the counter rather than at their tables where adequate safety measures are in place. This will help businesses with few or no handheld card machines.
“Payment should also be taken at the table wherever possible, but may be taken at a bar or counter if safety measures are in place” (Section 2.2)
Indoor Play Areas
The guidance on indoor areas and soft play has been updated, link to BALPPA’s revised guidance on how to manage these areas.
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.
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.
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.
With Christmas approaching, the Government has updated the Covid Secure guidance for holding special religious services and gatherings, whether they be at a place of worship, at home or in outside areas in order to take into account the new rules. So, as it stands, Xmas dinner and carolling has to comply with the Rule of Six and no Passing the Peace at Midnight Mass.
Situation update 6 October 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.
As of 12 October 2020
Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to COVID restrictions
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.
As of 14 October 2020
Please see the first details of the new ‘three tiered’ alert level to standardise local restrictions. The new rules were announced by the Prime Minister see the tiers categorised as ‘medium,’ ‘high,’ and ‘very high.’
Local COVID Alert Level - Medium
Covering most of the country, and all of the South East region, this will broadly consist of the current national measures which came into force on 25th September. For these areas 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 six, indoors or outdoors.
See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is Medium.
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 six 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.
See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is High.
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.
See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is Very High.
As of 23 October 2020
The Government has published details of the Job Support Scheme Expansion:
Businesses that are operating but facing decreased demand can get support for wages through JSS Open.
Businesses that are legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK can get the financial support they need through JSS Closed.
This is undoubtedly the most significant and potentially complex change to the grants available as part of the winter support scheme. In a change from the previous lower limit of an employee working 33% of their usual hours they will now need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours. For the remainder of the unworked hours the employee will be entitled to receive 66.67% of their normal pay. The funding for such will be made up of a 5% contribution from the employer and 61.67% from the government. In practice the employer will pay 5% of the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, with the discretion to pay more than this if they wish. The government will pay the remainder of 61.67% of the hours not worked up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. This will ensure employees continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3,125 a month or less. The charts below show, through several examples, in yellow, the proportion of an employee’s salary paid by the company, in orange, that paid by the government, and, in grey, that which can remain unpaid.
In order to be eligible employers with over 250 employees will need to undertake a Financial Impact Test demonstrating that their turnover has remained equal or fallen due to the adverse effects of Covid-19. Those employing less than 250 do not need to do this.
Detailed information can be found here.
Where a business has been ordered to cease trading due to the measures implemented by the government the following grant funding is available. Each employee who cannot work due to these restrictions will receive two thirds of their normal pay, paid by their employer and fully funded by the government, to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month, although their employer has discretion to pay more than this if they wish . This will help protect employee incomes, limit unemployment and retain employer-employee matches so that these premises are able to reopen as quickly as possible when circumstances allow. Full details from HMRC will follow in due course.
The Job Support Scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 and run until 30 April 2021. The government will review the terms of the scheme in January. Employers will be able to claim in arrears from 8 December 2020, with payments made after the claim has been approved.
Eligible employers will be able to claim the JSS Closed grant for employees:
whose primary work place is at the premises that 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
that the employer has instructed to and who cease work for a minimum period of at least 7 consecutive calendar days
A complete list of employee eligibility requirements for JSS Closed and further guidance will be published by the end of October here
Grants for the self-employed
The Chancellor also announced further SEISS grants for those experiencing a reduced demand for their services as a direct result of Covid-19. These grants will increase from 20% to 40% of three months average trading profits, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.
A welcome announcement was the additional funding being made available to Local Authorities to support businesses in our sector who are in Tier 2. Based on premises’ rateable value these can be worth up to £2,100 per month for those 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 which have moved into Tier 3.
Welcoming visitors from Tier 2 (High)
London is now positioned in the Tier 2 (High) category in terms of Covid risk while the rest of the South East remains in Tier 1 (Medium). We are still allowed, at the moment, to welcome visitors from Tier 2 areas (including London) and they are still allowed to travel here but they have to uphold the Tier 2 restrictions.
Tier 2 visitors are allowed to stay in holiday accommodation with members of their own household, but they’re not allowed to enter other people’s homes: they can stay in a hotel, but not at friends and relatives houses.
Tier 2 visitors are allowed to go to bars and restaurants, but only with members of their own household. However, they are allowed to meet with other people outdoors: they could meet friends in a pub garden, or go for a walk together, but not socialise indoors.
Obviously, national rules, such as the Rule of Six, along with the other measures such as social distancing must be upheld alongside the above. More details can be found here.
COVID-19 Situation update 22 October 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.