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COVID-19 Update 21st September 2020

Calling tour operators and DMCs, we need your help! –  The campaign continues but with your active input we have a far greater chance of succeeding. To those of you that have already written to your MPs, we are incredibly grateful, and to those of you that have yet to do so, please, please do look into this.

General update

New measures to support and enforce self-isolation in England from 28 September

From 28 September, people will be legally required to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace. Fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000, in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel, and can increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for more serious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating. For example, this could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work.

A number of steps will be taken to make sure that people are complying with the rules, these include:

  • NHS Test and Trace call handlers making regular contact with those self-isolating, with the ability to escalate any suspicion of non-compliance to Local Authorities and local police
  • Using police resources to check compliance in highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups, based on local intelligence
  • Investigating and prosecuting high-profile and egregious cases of non-compliance
  • Acting on instances where third parties have identified others who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating

A payment of £500 will be available for people in England who are on lower incomes, cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of self-isolating. Local Authorities are setting up these self-isolation support schemes which are expected to be in place by 12 October. Those who start to self-isolate from 28 September will receive backdated payments once the scheme is set up in their Local Authority.

Read the full announcement here. You can also read today’s statement about these measures from the Health Secretary.

Clarified guidance on weddings and funerals in the North East of England

Local lockdown measures for the North East of England have been clarified to confirm that up to 30 people are allowed to attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals in these areas, and that any staff working at these ceremonies or events are not included as part of the 30 person limit.

Local lockdown restrictions to take effect in South Wales from 22 September

From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September coronavirus laws will be tightened in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport in South Wales. Read the full statement here.

The following restrictions will apply:

  • People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education
  • People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households
  • All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm
  • Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales

From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September, the requirement for all licensed premises to close at 11pm will also be extended to Caerphilly borough.

COVID-19 restrictions to be extended across Northern Ireland from 22 September

The Executive has announced that tightened COVID-19 restrictions will take effect across all of Northern Ireland from 6pm on Tuesday 22 September. The following measures will apply:

  • People from multiple households are not permitted to meet indoors, with the exception of single-person household bubbles or required visits for caring, essential maintenance, or legal or medical services
  • No more than six people from two households can gather in private gardens. Children aged 12 and under are excluded from the count of six

Wet pubs to reopen in Northern Ireland from 23 September

The Executive has confirmed that wet pubs will be permitted to reopen in Northern Ireland from Wednesday 23 September. The following regulations will apply to any venue serving alcohol or where alcohol may be brought in and consumed by customers:

  • The venue will be required as part of its risk assessment process to identify the number of people who can safely be accommodated in line with social distancing requirements, and must clearly display this figure in the premises
  • Hand sanitisation stations must be in place
  • The venue will be required to collect customer details to assist with the Test, Trace, Protect contact tracing programme
  • All service will be seated at tables. There will be no standing and no service at the bar
  • Customers must remain seated once in the premises, apart from using the facilities
  • Dancing will be prohibited in hospitality venues
  • A maximum of six people from any number of households can be seated at a table in a hospitality venue. Children aged 12 and under will be discounted from the total. More than six will be permitted if they all belong to a single household
  • Face coverings should be worn to enter and leave the venue and for movement inside. They are not required once seated
  • Beer bikes will not be permitted to operate

Please note that further regulations may apply to areas under localised lockdown restrictions. Further information about localised lockdown restrictions and the areas impacted can be found here.

NHS Covid-19 app – Wales differentials

On the 24th of September, Welsh Government and UK Government will be launching the NHS COVID-19 app across England and Wales. There is a ‘check-in’ feature which will allow businesses to register for an official QR code, allowing app users to check-in by scanning the code. This feature allows complete anonymity for both businesses and users when tracing cases of coronavirus. This doesn’t replace the legal requirement for certain high-risk businesses in Wales to collect information from customers, staff and visitors. App and non-app users will still need to give their contact details. Please find attached specific details on the NHS COVID-19 app & how it works with Wales’ existing visitor and customer record keeping requirements. More info here and assets here.

Coach Tourism Association compiling list of group-friendly attractions

The Coach Tourism Association is compiling a listing of group-friendly attractions that have reopened and are welcoming coach groups on their website. They have widened this opportunity to non-members – your members can add their information here

Situation update 21 September 2020
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