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COVID-19 Update 18th September 2020

Travel corridor changes in England and Scotland

Slovenia and Guadeloupe will be removed from the travel corridor lists in England and Scotland from 4am on Saturday 19 September, while Singapore and Thailand will be added to the travel corridor lists.

The FCDO list of countries/territories exempt from advice against all but essential travel has been updated in line with these changes.

Northern Ireland expands local lockdown measures and confirms new date to reopen wet pubs

Effective 5pm on Friday 18 September, local lockdown restrictions will be in effect in certain districts of the Lisburn and Castlereagh Council area, as well as the BT60 postcode in Northern Ireland. In these areas, people from separate households are not permitted to meet (with the exception of previously established social bubbles) and groups larger than six people will not be permitted to gather in private gardens.

Further information about localised lockdown restrictions and the areas impacted can be found here.

The Executive has also confirmed that pubs that do not serve food (wet pubs) can reopen from 23 September.

Tighter restrictions introduced in North East England from 18 September

In a statement today Health Secretary Matt Hancock outlined the tighter restrictions that will come into force from tomorrow 18 September for Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham

From tomorrow:

  • Residents of these areas should not socialise with other people outside their own households or support bubble
  • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
  • Late night restrictions of operating hours will be introduced, so leisure and entertainment venues must close between 10pm and 5am

Residents of these areas have also been advised to adhere to the following guidance:

  • Not to socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues
  • To take holidays only within your own household or support bubble
  • Only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
  • Avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators

Impact of Coronavirus on the UK economy & society

Early experimental data has been updated on the impact of coronavirus on the UK economy and society, including data on the business impacts of the coronavirus, social impacts on Great Britain, company incorporations and voluntary dissolution applications, online job adverts, footfall and road traffic. Latest report includes data collected up to 13 September.

CMA extends interim measures to protect competition on UK-US airline routes

The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has extended the terms of the Atlantic Joint Business Agreement (AJBA) for three years until March 2024 as it continues its investigation into the commitments required by the agreement and the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the terms of its long-term renewal.

Five airlines are currently signed up to the AJBA: British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Finnair. Under the terms of the agreement, the airlines have agreed not to compete on routes between the UK and the US. The agreement was signed in 2010 with a ten-year commitment, and was designed to protect competition by requiring AJBA airlines to release slots to competitors and provide other measures to support competition on other routes.

Retained, Rebuilt, Resilient

The Tourism Alliance’s paper that structures the priorities of the industry into a plan of action for the Government has been finalised. This is being used to brief MPs and officials on the impact of Coronavirus on the UK tourism industry and why a series of co-ordinated coherent measures across all interconnected components of the sector is needed to protect the 240,000 business and 3.3m people whose jobs depend on tourism.

New £1m DMO Fund

A new fund for struggling DMOs is being announced today. It is understood that the fund will only be available to DMOs that can show that they are at threat of closure and are not Local Authority funded. Further details to be shared when available.

NHS Test and Trace Messaging

Attached is a copy of the NHS’s new messaging for Test and Trace which has specific guidance for tourism businesses.

Escape the Everyday Campaign

VisitBritain has launched a £5 million ‘Escape the Everyday’ campaign to highlight the quality destinations, visitor attractions and experiences on offer across the UK’s cities, countryside and coast to boost tourism across the shoulder season and beyond. The campaign kicks off with a short video and branded content across social media, digital display and ‘on demand’ television advertising. The content also drives online ‘traffic’ to with ideas and links to information on autumn and winter activities and experiences across the nations and regions.

New regulations for hospitality businesses and venues in England to enforce the rule of 6, NHS QR code posters and contact logs

The Government has announced that from today, 18 September, hospitality venues in England are legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000. Also from today these venues will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and from Thursday 24 September they will be required to display official NHS QR code posters under law ahead of the NHS COVID-19 app being rolled out nationally on 24 September.

Services included in the new legal requirements are:

  • Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • Tourism and leisure, including gyms, swimming pools, hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks 
  • Close contact services
  • Facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres (for events), libraries and children’s centres  

Further details:

  • From 18 September, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England will now need to take bookings of no more than 6 people, ensure people are not meeting in groups of more than 6 people on their premises, and make sure there is sufficient space between tables
  • The regulations will be enforced by Local Authorities, who will have the power to issue fines of up to £1,000 for venues that are failing to comply, or the police as a last resort. Fines will rise to up to £4,000 for repeat offenders.
  • Businesses will be expected to make sure their customers are aware of the rules around QR codes by displaying posters and speaking to customers directly.
  • It will be an offence for a business to fail to adhere to the rule of 6 (respecting all exceptions to this) when taking a booking, allowing entry to a group of more than 6 people. Once groups are within the premises, businesses also risk offending if they fail to advise groups not to merge in ways that breach the rules is also an offence
  • Businesses will also need to ensure adequate distance between tables (2m or 1m+) and prevent customers from dancing.
  • If individuals choose to check-in using the NHS COVID-19 app QR code poster they do not need to log in via any other route
  • Information should be collected by the venue for those people that have not checked-in using the QR poster

Restrictions to be introduced in more areas in the North West, West Yorkshire and Midlands from Tuesday 22 September

In a statement today the Government announced that Lancashire, Merseyside, Warrington and Halton have been escalated to areas of intervention and that new restrictions will be introduced in Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston, and parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale from Tuesday 22 September. Please see below the restrictions specific to each area (to see all the affected areas and wards please see the full announcement.)

North West

In Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire (excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester), regulations will enforce the following restrictions from Tuesday 22 September:

  • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens
  • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
  • Late night operating hours will be restricted, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs, and cinemas, required to close between 10pm to 5am

Residents of these areas have also been advised to adhere to the following guidance: 

  • To only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
  • To avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators

Please note: These changes do not apply to Bolton or Greater Manchester where separate restrictions are already in place.

The Midlands

In Wolverhampton and Oadby and Wigston residents will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens from 22 September.

West Yorkshire

Residents in all parts of Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens, from 22 September. Some wards in these areas had been exempt from restrictions on gatherings introduced at the start of August, but these wards will now also be subject to the ban

Further guidance on restriction in the North East of England

Following the announcement of restrictions in the North East of England yesterday further guidance for businesses  and taking a holiday is available.

For businesses the guidance outlines that hospitality venues must only sell food and drink for consumption on the premises if it is served to customers sitting at a table. They may also sell food and drink for consumption off the premises. It details the list of businesses and venues that must close from 22:00 to 05:00 each day. It also says businesses and venues can still sell food and drinks for consumption off the premises between the hours of 22:00 to 05:00 but only for delivery service. See the full guidance for further details.

Updated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) statistics

Updated figures for the CJRS have been made available. Please see some of the key points from this release covering the period to 31 July 2020:

  • As at 31 July, the sector with the highest proportion of its workforce eligible for furlough that were actually furloughed was arts, entertainment and recreation at 45% followed by accommodation and food services sector at 43% – in all, 58% of employers in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector were using the furlough scheme at the end of July and 57% of employers in accommodation and food services
  • Preliminary estimates show that there was broad consistency in furlough rates across the nations and regions of the UK at the end of July – London had the highest take-up rate of 17% against the UK average of 16%
  • At 29%, the accommodation and food services sector had the highest proportion of employments furloughed flexibly
  • Based on the preliminary data for 31 July, the South West has the highest proportion of employments on flexible furlough at 25% and London has the highest proportion of employments furloughed on a full-time basis at 82%

To note: the CJRS claims data for July is not yet complete as claims for periods from 1 July onwards may still be made – this means that the figures for July are preliminary and are likely to be revised upwards somewhat in future releases

Other Government updates

TIER member updates

  • The Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance has published a report ‘Scale of Crisis Facing Tourism’ that sets out the actions that need to be taken urgently by the NI Executive, the economic impact of Covid-19, both during lockdown and since opening, and the reasons Tourism is so important to the recovery of the NI economy. You can see the full report and accompanying press release here.

Travel industry updates

  • Ryanair has announced that it will cut its October capacity by a further 20% (in addition to the 20% cut already announced in mid-August)
  • World Travel Market will now be held as a virtual event from 9-11 November 2020

Situation update 17/18 September 2020

Test and Trace
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