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COVID-19 Update 19th November 2020

  • Guidance for Private Hire Vehicles

The Government has published guidance for operators of Private Hire Vehicles and taxis on how to operate in a Covid secure manner. This includes guidance on:

    • Picking up passengers
    • Operating safely while people are in the vehicle
    • Taking payment at the end of the journey
    • Preparing the vehicle for the next passenger


  • Transport Usage

DfT has published it’s weekly data on transport use which shows a considerable difference between transport use now and during the first lockdown. Back in May, private car usage was 45% of normal and rail usage was just 5% of normal. By comparison, over the last week private car usage was 70% of normal and rail use was 24% of usual – both having decreased by only about 10% from immediately before the national lockdown. This suggests that the national lockdown isn’t having a significant impact on people’s travel patterns.


  • Film on Importance of Ventilation

As part of the ‘Hands. Face. Space’ campaign, the Government has produced a film highlighting that good ventilation can reduce the risk of coronavirus infection by over 70%. While the film is based on residential properties, it highlights the importance of businesses checking that their ventilation systems are clean and working properly and, where businesses do not have ventilation systems, the advice is to either open windows for short, sharp bursts of 10 to 15 minutes regularly throughout the day or leave windows open a small amount continuously.


  • Support for Hostels

Hostelling is one of the sectors of the UK tourism industry that has been particularly impacted by coronavirus due to the sharing of sleeping, bathroom and kitchen facilities in hostels. The sector has also been hit by the fall in the youth and school travel markets, resulting in bookings being down by over 75%. To help the sector survive, the YHA and Independent Hostels are working together to lobby Government for support and have tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to provide further support for the sector so that it can survive the winter period. When you are talking to local MPs, can you get them to support this by adding their name to the EDM on the link below.


  • Support for Zoos

As mentioned the other day that the deadline for the £100m support scheme for Zoos had been extended until the 29th January. However, what had not been addressed in this announcement was the 12 week eligibility criteria which means that zoos are not able to apply for support until they can prove that they have less than 12 weeks of revenue available. This is an arbitrary eligibility criteria that other businesses do have to provide prove of in order to gain support and is causing significant problems for the zoological businesses as it:

    • does not allow adequate planning time for organisations responsible for living animals.
    • inadvertently distorts the sector to the disadvantage of those medium-sized and large zoos with extensive conservation and education functions
    • does not take into account the financial governance and frameworks of most zoos.

As a result, only 3% of the £100m fund has actually been allocated despite the severe difficulties facing the sector. I’ve attached a copy of a briefing on this issue which includes BIAZA’s three main asks of Government:

    • Urgent reform to the eligibility criterion to remove the 12-week reserves condition and replace it with a criterion based on % revenue loss.
    • Funding within this envelope should be ring-fenced into 2021. This should be for a new scheme with an expanded scope that reflects the broader requirements of the zoo licensing system.
    • Clarity around efforts to support major zoos which have been excluded from support.

So, again, if you get the opportunity, can you please raise this issue in meetings with MPs and officials so that the zoos can access this funding.

ZAF briefing_APPG for zoos and aquariums
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