COVID-19 – Resources for Businesses
Update: 23rd February 2021
In his statement to the House of Commons on Monday 22nd February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the Government roadmap outlining how lockdown restrictions will be eased in England.
The roadmap is in four steps. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.
This assessment will be based on four tests:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
- Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern
There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions, followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.
The full roadmap document is available here. A simplified table of the steps is available on pages 47 to 48. See below for a summary of the key points.
Step One (Two Parts Split Between 8th and 29th March)
From 8th March:
People will be allowed to spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on their own, with one other person, or with their household or support bubble. People must continue to maintain social distance from those outside their household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise which is already permitted.
There will continue to be restrictions on international travel. Holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel. Those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure.
From 29th March:
People will no longer be legally required to stay at home, but some restrictions will remain such as continuing to work from home where possible and minimising all travel. The rule of six will return for outdoors, and meetings of two households will also be permitted. This includes in private gardens.
Outdoor sports and leisure facilities will be able to reopen and formally organised outdoor sports will be able to resume, subject to guidance.
Step Two (From 12th April at the Earliest, Subject to an Assessment of the Data Against the Four Tests)
Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households as in Step One, and no indoor mixing will be allowed unless otherwise exempt. Additional premises will be able to reopen but should only be visited alone or with household groups:
- Non-essential retail
- Personal care premises such as hairdressers, salons and close contact services
- Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3)
- Public buildings such as libraries and community centres
- Hospitality venues for outdoor service, without any curfew or the requirement for alcohol to be accompanied by a substantial meal – customers must order, eat and drink while seated
- Most outdoor settings and attractions including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas/performances/events will reopen
- Domestic overnight stays will be allowed and self-contained accommodation – those that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities – can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household
- Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open)
- International holidays will not be permitted
All newly open settings must abide by the social contact rules. This will be accompanied by mitigations including workforce testing and continued social distancing guidance. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise domestic travel where they are able. International holidays will still be prohibited.
Step Three (From 17th May at the Earliest and at Least Five Weeks After Step Two)
Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 30 people outdoors will remain illegal. Indoors, people will be able to meet socially in a group of six, or with one other household (though it may be possible to go further than this at step three depending on the data). COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits.
Sectors which will reopen include:
- Indoor hospitality, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew. The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain
- Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas
- Indoor entertainment, such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas
- Remaining accommodation, such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs
- Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes
- Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events
- Controlled, indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower
The Government will also make a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower
Furthermore, pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing
- Weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events including wakes can proceed with up to 30 attendees
- A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings
Step Four (From 21st June at the Earliest, and at Least Five Weeks After Step Three)
With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step Four, the Government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact, reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs, and enable large events, including theatre performances, above the Step Three capacity restrictions, and remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.
Read the press release here.
In Parallel to These Steps, Four Formal Reviews Will Also Take Place on the Issues of:
- Social distancing and face masks
- The resumption of international travel – the Global Travel Taskforce will report on 12th April with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern. Following that, the Government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than 17th May
- COVID status certification to enable reopening of businesses, mindful of discrimination and privacy
- The return of major events
Further details of business support will come from the Chancellor’s budget next Wednesday. A plan for reacting to local outbreaks will also be published next month, with measures to tackle new variants. The Prime Minister could not rule out implementing restrictions at a local level if required.
VisitEngland Good To Go Update
VisitEngland have announced that any business in the UK registered with the We’re Good To Go industry standard scheme are now automatically eligible for the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) international Safe Travels stamp.
The We’re Good To Go scheme, launched last year by VisitEngland in partnership with the tourism boards of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, is a free UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to reassure your customers that your business adheres to Government and public health guidance.
The scheme has been recognised by WTTC as meeting international global standardised health and hygiene protocols and for its role in supporting the recovery of the UK tourism sector. The protocols for their global Safe Travels stamp were designed with the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines’ and developed alongside leading industry associations and international organisations.
Any business not already part of We’re Good To Go can apply to the scheme and indicate that you wish to use the additional global WTTC stamp. You will need to demonstrate that you are adhering to the latest Government and public health guidance, that you have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and that you have the required processes in place to aid social distancing and cleanliness.
Please continue reading below for historic updates from the past few months, and business support links.
Update: 5th January 2021
Please see below the latest updates, including a national lockdown in England and new grants to support businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
National lockdown in England
The Prime Minister addressed the nation last night outlining a national lockdown in England.
- England will be entering a national lockdown, the Government is instructing people to stay at home and this will be backed up with legislation. People will be permitted to leave home for limited reasons, including shopping for essentials, work if you cannot work from home, exercise, or to seek medical assistance. Shielding will begin again, and those at risk will receive a letter
- Primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges must move to online learning – except for vulnerable children and children of key workers. Nurseries will continue to stay open
- All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services must close, or remain closed. Restaurants can continue delivery, takeaway or click-and-collect of food and non-alcoholic drinks, but venues will no longer be able to serve takeaway or click-and-collect alcohol
- Essential shops and garden centres can remain open. Entertainment venues and animal attractions such as zoos must close, but the outdoor areas of venues such as heritage homes and botanical gardens can remain open, to be used for exercise. Playgrounds may also remain open
- Everyone should follow the new rules, and they will become law from 12:01am on Wednesday 6th January. Parliament will sit, largely remotely, on Wednesday to debate and vote on the measures. The restrictions are expected to last until the middle of February if the situation in hospitals improves
- People can exercise in a public outdoor place alone, with the people they live with, with their support bubble (if they are legally permitted to form one), in a childcare bubble where providing childcare or, when alone, with one person from another household
Public outdoor places include:
- Parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
- Public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
- The grounds of a heritage site
- Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.
- People must not leave their home unless they have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes). If people need to travel, they should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of their village, town or the part of a city where they live – and look to reduce the number of journeys made overall
- People can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where they first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, they should consider the public health advice in the country being visited
- People cannot leave their home or the place where they are living for holidays or overnight stays unless they have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not a primary residence
Businesses and Venues Which Must Close
To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close will be available shortly in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:
- Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
- Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery
- Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
- Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses
- Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
- Animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)
- Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise
- Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
- Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services
Businesses and Venues Which Can Remain Open
Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses will be available on GOV.uk shortly but some businesses in the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector that can remain open include:
- Outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
- Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
- Outdoor playgrounds
- Places of worship
- Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres and off-licences, market stalls selling essential retail
- Petrol stations, taxi and vehicle hire businesses
Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Religious Services and Funerals
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance, and must only take place in COVID-19 Secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to six people in attendance.
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to six people and in exceptional circumstances.
New Lockdown Grants to Support Businesses in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Sectors
The Chancellor has announced grants for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
The one-off top-up grants will be provided on a per-property basis to businesses closed as a result of the latest restrictions as follows:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, that might be affected by the restrictions. Businesses should apply to their Local Authorities.
The new one-off grants are in addition to the existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.
Mental Health Resources
- Bath Mind have a useful page on their website detailing resources and support during isolation, social distancing and illness
- Rehab 4 Addiction have put together a discussion regarding mental health during the pandemic
- Click here for mental health resources from the NHS Every Mind Matters campaign
Update: 26th November 2020
Following today's Government announcement, from 2nd December, Bath and North East Somerset will be in Tier 2: High Alert. Click here for more information regarding the Government's announcement about the tier system.
In Tier 2, hospitality settings that serve alcohol must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.
We will be updating our website to ensure that we are carrying the latest advice from Public Health, business reopening/closure information, plus inspiring content to attract visits to Bath and North East Somerset.
We are aware that there will be several Members and businesses in Bath who will not be able to open, either through restrictions or for other reasons. If there is anything we can do to help, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We appreciate that information relating to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is changing regularly and wanted to be able to share and signpost information for businesses working in the tourism and hospitality industry. We anticipate that this information will be updated frequently. Please visit the following pages for up-to-date information:
- VisitEngland – business advice hub
- VisitBritain – latest information and advice for businesses
- VisitBritain – 'We're Good to Go' scheme
- NHS website
- GOV.UK – UK government response
- GOV.UK – support for businesses
- GOV.UK – business support toolkit
- Bath and North East Somerset website
- Travelwest – coronavirus travel advice
- Invest In Bath – information for businesses
- Acas – advice for employers and employees
- PASC – information and advice for self-catering businesses
- Tier 2: High Alert Assets
Not in Bath and North East Somerset?
Links to other local authority information:
Government Advice on Reporting Outbreaks
COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:
- Know how to recognise and report an incident of COVID-19.
- Are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it.
- Full details can be found here.
In addition, 'action cards' have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased.
Update: 1st November 2020
The Prime Minister has announced a second national lockdown for England. You can view the full speech here.
In summary, this lockdown comes into effect on 12:01am Thursday 5th November for four weeks (following a Commons vote on Wednesday and regulations published on Tuesday), until 2nd December 2020. After the four weeks, the Government will seek to ease restrictions, going back into the tiered system on a local and regional basis according to the latest data and trends.
Key Points From Boris Johnson's Speech Are:
- The public must stay at home from Thursday, only leaving home for specific reasons, including:
- Work, if you cannot work from home, for example
- Exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own with one person from another household
- Medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm
- To shop for food and essentials
- To provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer
- Workplaces should stay open where people can’t work from home – for example, in the construction or manufacturing sectors
- Single adult households can still form exclusive support bubbles with one other household, and children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated
A press release on the PM’s statement on upcoming national restrictions in England has since been published which outlines some further details on restrictions applicable to tourism.
The key points to note are:
- There is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday. This means people cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions. Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, except for specific exceptions including for work
- Inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach, and those currently on a domestic holiday will be allowed to finish their holidays, but are still subject to the requirements in England to not go out without a reasonable excuse
There is also a new guidance page on gov.uk about the changes in England. Please be aware that this is initial top-line guidance and more detail will be available in the coming days.
Of particular note:
- The Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close, including:
- All non-essential retail, including, but not limited to, clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks
- Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens
- Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons
- Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retailers should follow COVID-Secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers
- Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect can operate
- Playgrounds can remain open
- Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed
- Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law
- A full list of the business closures will be published and set out in law
- Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances
All non-essential travel by private or public transport should be avoided. Essential travel includes, but is not limited to:
- Essential shopping
- Travelling to work where your workplace is open or you cannot work from home
- Travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
- Hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
The Government's Furlough Scheme has been extended, with further economic support announced.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended through November. Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2,500 a month.
The flexibility of the current CJRS will be retained to allow employees to continue to work where they can. Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit organisations are eligible, and because more businesses will need to close, they will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during the month of November, making this more generous than support currently on offer.
The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.
Click here for details of the new style Employment and Support Allowance.
Click here for full details, courtesy of VisitBritain, of the latest information and advice for businesses.
Supporting your business during this time
We will continue to share the latest guidance and updates and will aim to support those businesses who will again have to adapt to suit current guidelines.
This will include sharing information of hospitality businesses offering takeaway and delivery services, and any support for local businesses promoting online sales or future travel, should you wish to do so. This will also include virtual tours and experiences if you have them.
Please do keep us updated if you can, and send details of any takeaway services, virtual activities and online sales to Lisa Franklin, on email@example.com.