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COVID 19 Updates

Below are the updates from Government for the 15th & 16th June.


Daily Government briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. He reviewed the latest testing data and recounted some of the measures taking effect this week to relax the lockdown: steps were taken over the weekend to enable private prayer and to allow single adult households to form social support bubbles, and from today retail and outdoor attractions including zoos, safari parks and outdoor cinemas may reopen. Face coverings are mandatory on all public transportation from today.

A question was asked about reviewing and possibly reducing the 2 metre rule for social distancing. Raab replied that the rule remains under review and a report is expected in two weeks.

View the full briefing here.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance updated

Guidance has been published outlining the changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme following the Chancellor’s announcement on 29 May. These include:

  • From 1 July employers can only claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March–30 June.
  • Flexibly furlough employees, meaning employees can come back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern.
  • Still be able to claim the furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period
  • From 1 August, the level of the grant will be slowly reduced. No grant will be available for Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions from 1 August although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.
  • From 1 September, you will also be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages to ensure they continue to receive at least 80% of their wages for the time they’re on furlough. Find more information on how the amount of grant available through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.
  • 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 and 30 June). Employees need to have started the leave before 10 June and are returning after 10 June and they have to be on their employers’ PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.

HMRC are running two webinars, one to be held on Thursday 18 June 9:45am-10:45am and one on Friday 19 June 11:45am-12:45pm. It provides 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 updated

Updated guidance has been made 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 for 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.


Northern Ireland accelerates reopening of tourism and hospitality sector

This afternoon the NI Economy Minister announced a conditional acceleration of the reopening of Tourism & Hospitality as follows:

  • 26 June – reopening of caravan parks, camping sites and self-catering tourist accommodation
  • 3 July – reopening of other tourist accommodation being permitted to open from 3 July 2020 (date again conditional). In addition the 3 July will see the opening of:
    • Restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, etc.
    • Indoor spaces of pubs and bars for the provision of substantial meals, with the serving of alcohol being ancillary to this. Pubs and bars opening on this basis will be encouraged to avoid providing activities such as bands, live sport screening, etc.
    • Pubs and bars with outdoor spaces (e.g. beer gardens) permitted to sell alcohol in these spaces on a table service basis
    • Hotel restaurants permitted to open, in line with guidance. Hotel bars to be restricted to the provision of substantial meals with the serving of alcohol being ancillary to this. As with pubs and bars, hotels with outdoor spaces will be permitted to sell alcohol in these spaces. Spas and leisure facilities would not be permitted to open at this stage and would open in line with relaxation of restrictions on the wider spa and leisure sector.
    • Visitor attractions – a diverse sector comprising museums, historic houses, culture and heritage venues, and outdoor attractions – will likely see a phased re-opening in line with site or building-specific risk assessments. The outdoor areas of some attractions are already open.


Other Government updates


Other updates

  • The EU Commission has now formally launched the Re-open EU website, which is designed to support a safe relaunch of travelling and tourism across Europe. It will provide real-time information on borders and available means of transport and tourism services in Member States as well as practical information provided by Member States on travel restrictions, public health and safety measures. The creation of this website was announced in previous EU Tourism Ministerial meetings and May’s EU tourism guidance package. The UK, as a non-Member State, isn’t included on the website. Further info in the full press release here.


Psychological First Aid Training

PHE has developed a free 90min online psychological first aid training course which is available to frontline staff and volunteers. The training to enable staff to provide support and recognise people at risk of distress. While it has primarily been developed for use by health/care workers, it is a worthwhile course for businesses too (especially those with staff on furlough or having to come back to their place of work.


Jet Zero Council

The Government has announced the establishment of a “Jet Zero” council which will bring together industry and environmental groups with the government in order to make the aviation and aerospace sectors environmentally fit for the future. In announcing the formation of the Council, the Government has also pledged £500,000 to continue the development of a biofuels plant which will convert waste into sustainable fuel. The goal of this initiative is to, within a generation, demonstrate flight across the Atlantic is possible without harming the environment.


Situation update 15 June 2020



Daily Government briefing

The Prime Minister gave today’s press briefing. He was joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Peter W Horby, University of Oxford. The Prime Minister gave the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases and an update on COVID-19 treatments. The Prime Minister says he is “all too aware” that the two-metre rule has implications for schools and hospitality sector and he will do everything in his power to get life back to normal. But he will proceed carefully, and will only act in a way that minimises the risk to life. During the Q+A Sophia of the Evening Standard asked about Spain threatening to impose quarantine restrictions on UK visitors in response to the UK’s quarantine measures. She also asked if the PM would discuss travel corridors with President Macron when he visits the UK? Johnson said he will be talking to Macron about all sorts of things, including this, when they meet later this week. And he said they will be talking to Spain too about this.  View the full briefing here.


Global Britain

The Prime Minister today made a statement to the House of Commons on “Global Britain”. He has announced the merger of Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development into the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. This follows a review conducted by Lord Bew.


Other Government updates

  • Updated weekly data (up to end of Sunday 14 June) is available for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
  • Latest figures available for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme.
  • See the businesses, business representative organisations, regulators and academics who took part in the five economic recovery roundtables chaired by Business Secretary Alok Sharma last week and the topics discussed. The roundtable topics included green recovery, increasing opportunity, backing new business, the future of industry and the UK open for business.
  • The guidance for Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students on temporary concessions in response to the outbreak of coronavirus has been updated.


Industry updates

  • TUI Group will gradually resume some of their summer 2020 programme from this week, in line with the easing of travel restrictions in Europe. The group plans to restart activity in the UK later this summer and expects to operate at around 30% of their original capacity in Q4 this year.
  • Six organisations have come together to form The Future of Tourism Coalition, with the global mission to place tourism destinations at the centre of recovery strategies.
    • The organisations include the Centre for Responsible Travel, Destination Stewardship Centre, Green Destinations, Sustainable Travel International, Tourism Cares and the Travel Foundation, with the guidance of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
  • Traveller Made, a network of 440 travel agencies in 70 countries, has created an interactive map tracking the opening status of its preferred hotel partners.


Updated Workplace Guidance for Food Outlets and Office

The Government has updated the guidance for businesses providing food for takeaway and delivery and for office businesses and those providing contact centres for customers. The changes relate to new guidance on test and trace service, guidance on safer travel and to provide guidance on managing security risks.


Extension of 30 Day Visa

People whose 30 day visa for work, study or to join family has expired, or is about to expire, can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this year. The replacement visa will be valid for a period of 90 days which suggests that the replacement visa could itself be replaced before the end of the year.


Updated Business Closure Guidance

An updated version of the guidance on which businesses must stay closed has been produced that consolidates recent changes related to businesses like zoos, outdoor activities and indoor markets.


New Towns Fund Guidance

The Towns Fund is a £3.6bn fund that the Government established as part of the “levelling-up” agenda and ask towns to bid for last year. From the applications, in September 100 towns were selected to go forward to the second stage where they were required to develop Town Investment Plans (TIPs).  The Government has published new guidance for these towns which is intended to enable them to finalise their TIPs and work with MHCLG to agree their Town Deals. It sets out key information about interventions in scope, and the roles of different stakeholders throughout the process, and shows the path towards the implementation of Town Deals.

With the Coronavirus outbreak and the need to rebuild local economies, it is more important than ever that tourism businesses in these town engage and help shape the development of these TIPs so that they support tourism recovery. The guidance is here and here is a list of the 100 towns taking part in this initiative.


Youth Travel and Coronavirus

BETA has just published a new piece of research that tracks travel motivations among young people throughout the Covid-19 crisis. This research is based on the insights of 2,000 18-30 year olds and the key findings are that:

  • 65% will hold off booking their next trip until social distancing has been removed or a vaccine is available
  • 70% are concerned about being stuck overseas
  • 47% would prioritise brands that have clear guides and better policies on refunds


Zoos All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Meeting

The meeting will be held via Zoom on Wednesday 24th June at 4.00 pm, hosted by the secretariat for the A.P.P.G, B.I.A.Z.A. – the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The meeting will hear from leaders of the sector about the challenges they face and what must be done to help them. There will be the opportunity to ask questions of B.I.A.Z.A. and other zoo industry figures. R.S.V.P. to the Clerk of the A.P.P.G., Scott Sherlock, at to receive the meeting’s log-in details.


Situation update 16 June 2020
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