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COVID-19 Update 9th October 2020

As you will have seen by reading through the announcement on the Expanded Job Support Scheme, more details (including the publication of the Government’s new three tier lockdown system on Monday) will be needed to determine the level of benefit that this provides to tourism businesses. On first reading, it looks like the Scheme may be limited to those businesses that are legally required to close, so their supply chains may not be covered. Also, there could still be many tourism businesses that are not legally be required to close but will face a further downturn in demand as the lockdown area becomes less attractive to visitors (ie., who would want to book a break to a destination if all the restaurants/pubs/indoor attractions are closed?). Confirmation is also required as to whether it covers partial closures as well as total closures.

  • R Number

As it’s Friday, the R Number and Growth Rate figures have been updated for the week. The latest R number range for the UK is now 1.2-1.5 and the growth rate range is +4% to +9%. The region with the highest R Number and Growth rate in the East of England with figures of 1.3-1.6 and +5 to +11 respectively.

  • Causes of Transmission

No doubt you will have seen the report regarding the transmission of Coronavirus in the UK saying that 30% of the cases were the result exposure to the virus a hospitality settings. This came from a cabinet Office briefing pack published yesterday that contained an early analysis from Public Health England enhanced contact tracing data. It is worth noting that the table with the data states that it is a table of all of the settings and events reported in common by two or more confirmed cases – so it is a table of possible transmission events, not confirmed transmission events.

  • National Museum Figures

The weekly update from DCMS on visitor numbers to the National Museums indicates that visitor numbers have levelled off at 20% of what is expected at this time of year

  • ONS Social and Economic Impact Research

This week’s wave of the ONS’s social impact survey has been published which continues to show a drop-off in tourism and hospitality related activity. Specifically:

  • The percentage of people going to a pub or restaurant during the week decreased further from 28%  to 25%
  • The percentage of people visiting at beach, beauty or heritage site decreased from 9% to 6%
  • The percentage of people going on holiday or taking a break remained at 5%

On the economic side, the August GDP figures came out showing growth of 2.1% in August. The main reason for this was that 65% of the monthly growth in the service sector came from accommodation and food and beverage service activities as a result of more businesses opening up to take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and increased demand for staycations. In a deeper dive on the accommodation sector they found:

  • While accommodation grew by 84.4%, output was still 22.1% less than February 2020

  • Home Office Update on Services

Attached is an update from the Home Office on visa services which includes items on

  • Return to business as usual (BAU) for in-country applications
  • Applications submitted overseas
  • New PBS student route
  • Reduction in call centre costs for overseas customers
  • Assisted Digital service
  • Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration (ICIBI)
  • KickStart Scheme Update

If you want to employ someone under the Government’s Kickstart scheme but are not in a position to employ the minimum 30 people, you need to find someone who will employ a person on your behalf. To help with this the Government has a list of organisations who will do this. The list has just been updated and expanded and can be searched on a region by region basis.


The Chancellor has just announced that the Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions. Under the expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work. The main features of the scheme are:

  • The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. 
  • The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
  • Cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns also increased to up to £3,000 per month paid every two weeks
  • Employers will be required to cover NICS and pension contributions
  • Employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days
  • Payments will be made in arrears – a HMRC claims service that will be available to do this from early December
  • Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.
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