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COVID-19 Further Updates 21st August 2020

Updated Guidance on Businesses That Can Open and Where Facemasks Are Required

The overall guidance on which businesses and facilities that can open, including any restrictions on their operation, has been updated to take account of the re-openings last weekend and the changes on where people are required to wear facemasks.

UKInbound have updated the tour group guidance on our website with the following information:

  • Guides: Speaking as a guide comes under the exemption that it is required for their job (e.g. a vicar giving a sermon or news reporter is in a similar position) and don’t have to wear a face covering for this reason.
  • For private coaches: passengers wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged as it is an enclosed public space. Although coaches are private transport vehicles, if it is a tour group, generally people will be mixing with people outside of their household so they should wear face coverings. See also the Guidance on face coverings for public transport

Updated Visa Application Centre closure advice

Updated guidance is available for customers outside of the UK who may be affected by VAC closures, it states:

“If your VAC is still closed due to coronavirus restrictions, you can visit a VAC in any country worldwide, subject to that country’s entry requirements, to submit your application and biometrics. You’ll be able to make any type of application. This temporary concession will be reviewed by 30 November 2020.”

Other Government updates

  • Spectator guidance has been updated and added to the phased return of sport and recreation guidance.
  • Updated data until 16 August is available for how local authorities have received and distributed funding to support small and medium businesses in England during coronavirus.
  • The latest data for transport use during COVID-19 has been published.

Industry updates

  • Collinson and Swissport have announced a COVID-19 testing facility is set up and ready for use at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 with another to be ready for use by the end of August in Terminal 5.
  • Following the UK Government’s quarantine announcement last week, Brittany Ferries has announced a consolidation of their schedules, that will begin from the end of August.

Check if Simplified Expenses Could Save Your Business Money

This is not strictly coronavirus related but helpful for sole traders or business partnerships that want to cut costs at the moment. BEIS has updated its online tool for these businesses to assess whether transferring to the Simplified Expenses scheme could save them money.

New measures announced today for Oldham, parts of Pendle and Blackburn

Additional restrictions will be introduced in Oldham, parts of Pendle and Blackburn from midnight on Saturday to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The measures include:

  • Local residents in these three areas cannot socialise with anyone from outside their household.
  • Social activities indoors and outdoors can only be shared with people that you live with and in your immediate household
  • People can still shop, go to work, send children to childcare and to school (which open from 1 September)
  • Residents are advised to avoid using public transport except for essential travel
  • The number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals has been reduced and should be limited to household members and close family (no more than 20 people).
  • Local restaurants are encouraged to halt walk-ins, and only seat people who make reservations in advance, up to a maximum of 6 people per table.

The new rules – are in addition to the existing ban on indoor gatherings of more than 2 households in place across parts of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.

Meanwhile, Birmingham has been added to this week’s watch list as an ‘area of enhanced support’, meaning the area will benefit from additional testing, locally led contact tracing and targeted community engagement. Northampton has become an ‘area of intervention’. Restrictions will be lifted in Wigan, Rossendale and Darwen. See the announcement for the detailed list of impacted areas.

Latest Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) figures up to end of July released

Key take-outs from the data include:

  • The accommodation and food services sector has seen 77% take-up rate in terms of employments, with over £4.7 billion claimed through CJRS. With 87% of employers in this sector furloughing at least one employment.
  • Arts, entertainment, recreation and other services, has seen 76% of employers in this sector furlough at least one employment. With a total of 474,000 employments furloughed in this sector with a take-up rate of 70% claiming £1.3 billion in total.

Outdoor events to be trialled in Wales and some further restrictions lifted

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced today that a limited number of small scale outdoor performances and sporting events are set to be trialled in Wales in an effort to begin a phased approach to the safe reopening of the events industry. Initially three small events, with limits of up to 100 people, and subject to strict risk assessments, will be held across Wales later this month.

Outdoor events are being prioritised in this review period, while the weather is mild, due to evidence of lower transmission of coronavirus outdoors. The Minister said if these small events can be carried out safely, and transmission of the virus remains low, it is hoped the next stage will be increased numbers of participants, allowing a limited number of spectators to attend sporting events and potentially considering trialling small scale business events.

He also announced some further restrictions will be lifted including:

From 22 August:

  • Extended households can expand to include up to four households in an exclusive, extended arrangement.
  • Weddings and funerals will be able to include a meal for up to 30 people, in suitably socially distant settings.

Subject to the successful resumption of weddings and funerals, it is hoped to further increase the range of indoor ceremonies allowed in the next review period.

From 29 August :

  • Casinos will be allowed to reopen provided they follow the guidance available to them.

Travel Corridor update for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Following yesterday’s travel corridor announcement for England, Portugal has been added to travel corridor lists in Wales, Northern Ireland  and Scotland, while Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago have been removed.

Points Based Immigration system resources for employers

The Home Office has published some resources to help employers understand/prepare for the new points based immigration system:

  • Information Pack: Informative document with infographics. This outlines the process of becoming a licensed sponsor, explains the points system and suggests alternative routes for potential employees (e.g. Start-up and Innovator routes, Sports routes, short term Creative routes)
  • Animations: Brief YouTube clips introducing the concepts: Hiring people from outside the UKSponsoring a skilled worker
  • Email Update Subscription Link: Link for employers to sign up for live updates on the Points-based Immigration System.

Call for evidence for integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy

The Government is calling for evidence for the integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy. The Review will cover all aspects of international and national security policy, such as defence, diplomacy, development and national resilience. It will re-examine the UK’s priorities and objectives in light of the UK’s departure from the European Union and at a time when the global landscape is changing rapidly, including as a result of COVID-19. Further details along with the “call for evidence” questions, a response template and email address to return the evidence to Government can be found here.

Other Government updates

Industry updates

Impact of Eat Out to Help Out

The ONs has produced new research which, among other things, shows the very positive impact that the Eat Out to help Out initiative is having. In particular,

  • 93% of people know of the scheme – which is an incredibly high recognition rate
  • 11% of all people have taken advantage of the scheme so far which, again, is a very high take-up rate
  • The percentage of people who left home to eat out has risen from 21% to 34% in the two weeks of the scheme’s operation

The one worrying factor is that the percentage of people who say that they are comfortable eating inside at a restaurant has only risen from 37% to 43% since the beginning of August so there is still considerable work that still needs to be done in terms of reassurance.


The same research found that Coronavirus is having a significant impact on holiday plans, not just for travel overseas but for domestic tourism as well.

  • 40% of people say that they have no travel plans this year
  • 27% of adults said they were either likely or very likely to go on holiday in the UK this summer
  • 6% said they were likely or very likely to go on holiday abroad (down from 9% last week)
  • Only 8% of people said they would be likely to travel overseas knowing that they had to self-isolate for 14 days
  • 18% reported that they had cancelled their travel plans
  • 14% said they had decided to holiday in the UK instead of travelling abroad this year – which is lower than many people would have expected.

R Rate and Growth Rates

The Government has just published this week’s R and Growth Rates – the R Rate is now 0.9-1.1 and the growth rate is -3% to +1%. Of particular note is that the R rate is at it’s highest level since figures were first published in May.

Face Mask Update

The facemask guidance has been updated again to reflect that with spectators to be allowed back into watch professional sports events soon, face coverings will be required in sports stadiums. The exemptions section on when face coverings are not required has also been updated to give added guidance related to a range of scenarios such as being asked for age verification before selling alcohol.

BVA BDRC Sentiment Tracker Survey

Here’s the link to BVA BDRC’s final Sentiment Tracker Survey which contains a wealth of information on the public’s attitude to Coronavirus and undertaking leisure and holiday activities. Some of the main points are below but one finding from the research that is particularly pertinent is that with the number of people that have been on holiday in the UK so far this summer (June to 13 August) is less than the number of people who went on holiday in the UK during the winter period of January – March 2020.

Other key findings are:

  • The percentage of people who think the worst is yet to come continues to track upwards to around 50% of the population – with only around 15% of people thinking that we are over the worst of it.
  • 85% of people think that there will be a second wave that leads to a lockdown
  • Participation in restaurant dining and pub visits increased noticeably in the first week of August – which ties in with Eat Out to Help Out.
  • UK Holiday participation is tracking at 14% while there is only 2% participation in overseas holidays.
  • People visiting outdoor attractions is flatlining at 43%  but indoor attractions are really suffering with only a 4% cumulative participation rate
  • The reduction in VAT seems to have had an impact on accommodation booking but nothing like the impact of Eat Out to Help Out

Situation update 21 August 2020
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