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COVID-19 Update 11th December 2020

  • New  LRSG (Open) Guidance

BEIS has produced new guidance for Local Authorities on how to administer the Local Restrictions Support Grant )Open) from 2nd December.  This is the grant allocated to Local Authorities in Tiers 2 and 3 by Government to provide support to local businesses that, while not legally required to close, are able to demonstrate that they have been substantially impacted by restrictions.


The funding from Government to councils is being made on the basis of the number of businesses in their area that are on the Valuation Office records under certain SCAT Codes (these are business codes for different types of businesses). While the allocation is on the basis of certain businesses, there is a discretionary element to the allocation whereby councils can determine which businesses to receive the grant (although they have been guided to provided it to hospitality, accommodation and leisure businesses). What is of particular note for tourism businesses is para 15 of the Guidance


  1. Local Authorities are not expected to use SCAT codes to determine business eligibility.


This means that the grants can be provided to businesses outside the SCAT codes that the Government used to allocate funding – so provided that a business can demonstrate that the restrictions have severely impacted their revenue, then they are eligible to apply for LRSG (Open) funding. The council can always take  view that it does not want to give grants to particular businesses, but this will be their decision and not a Government requirement.


  • Guidance on Serving Alcohol Outside

I have received a number of questions regarding whether outdoor attractions  and events can serve food and alcohol to visitors. DCMS have provided the following advice on this:


Tiers 1 and 2

Where there is no seating available, the stall or outlet will be providing a take away service. The customer can order their food and drink including alcohol to eat and drink anywhere in the outdoor setting. Customers should be reminded to adhere to safe social distancing when queuing for food and drink by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that customers can follow or employing extra marshals to enforce this. Customers eating and drinking in the outdoor setting should not gather in groups of more than 6 people

Tier 3

Outdoor stalls can offer food and drink as a takeaway service but alcohol may only be sold as delivery or click and collect

If seating is provided in or adjacent to the outlet supplying the food and drink, then customers have to comply with the usual rules associated with the different Tiers in terms of table service and substantial meals in tiers 1 and 2 and closure of seating areas in Tier 3


  • Alcohol And The Performing Arts

The Primary Guidance for the Performing Arts Sector  have been updated to clarify that alcohol that statement that “Venues should also only serve alcohol without a substantial meal to ticketed customers for 30 minutes before, during and 30 minutes after the performance or screening means that they can serve alcohol for a maximum of 60 mins in total


  • Air Corridors Weekly Update

This week’s review has taken place and from 4am on 19th December the Canary Islands will be removed from the Air Corridors list and people arriving from the Canaries after this date will be required to self-isolate.

In addition, Botswana and Saudi Arabia will be added to the Air Corridors List on the same date.

It is worth noting that, from 15 December, passengers arriving into the UK from countries not on the Air Corridor List – including the Canary Islands – will have the option to take a test from a private provider after 5 days of self-isolation, with a negative test result releasing them from the need to self-isolate.


  • Coronavirus And The Impact On Output In The UK Economy

As part of the GDP data published today, ONS released research on the impact of coronavirus on different sectors of the UK economy. The research, which is for October (so before the second lockdown) shows yet again, that the tourism industry continues to be the most severely impacted sector of the UK economy. The main points being:

    • Tour operators and Travel Agents are still operating at only 10% of the level they were in February this year
    • Activity in the Air Transport sector is 86.5% down on February 2020
    • Activity in the Accommodation industry is 41% down on February 2020
    • Activity in Food and Beverage Sector is 32% down on February 2020


  • CJRS Will Publish Employer Information

HMRC has announced that, from February, it will publish information about employers who claim for periods starting on or after 1 December 2020.

The following information will be published on GOV.UK:

    • the employer name
    • an indication of the value of the claim within a banded range
    • the company number for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)

In addition, furloughed employees will be able to see details of claims made for them after 1 December 2020 in their Personal Tax Account on GOV.UK. The reason for this is to cut down the level of fraud occurring whereby companies register people as on furlough without telling the employees who continue to work as normal.


The CJRS has also been updated to clarify that businesses do not need to be facing a wider reduction in demand or be closed to be eligible to claim for employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus.


  • Visa Update

The Home Office has updated it’s guidance  for people whose 30 day visa vignette to work, study or join family has expired to say that they will continue to replace 30 day vignettes free of charge for eligible customers until 31 December 2020.

To request a replacement 30 day visa people can either:

    • contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre
    • arrange to return their passport to the VAC if it has re-opened
    • Contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre:

Applicants will need to include their name, nationality, date of birth and your GWF reference number with ‘REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA’ in the subject line.


  • Xmas Support for Wet-Led Pubs

The Government has published the guidance related to the Prime Minister’s announcement that wet-led pubs will receive £1000 if they are in Tier 2 or Tier 3 areas following the reviews of Tier areas on the 2nd and 16th December. This means that any wet-led pub that is in a Tier 2 or 3 area for any period between 2nd December and 29th December will receive the payment. Other important factors to note are:

    • A pub defined as an establishment that is open to the general public, allows free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided, allows drinking without requiring food to be consumed and permits drinks to be purchased at a bar. So councils are being told that they should exclude restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, hotels, snack bars, guesthouses, boarding houses, sporting venues, music venues, festival sites, theatres, museums, exhibition halls, cinemas, concert halls and casinos from the payment of this grant
    • The guidance defines a wet-led pub as a pub that derives less than 50% of its income from sales of food.


  • Business Eviction Ban Extended

The Government has announced that the Business eviction ban, which was to have ended at the end of the year, has now been extended until the end of the financial year in order to give landlords and tenants an additional three months to negotiate an agreement on unpaid rent. The Government has also announced that it will soon be publishing new guidance to support these negotiations and will extend insolvency measures on restricting statutory demands and winding up petitions until the end of March.

In addition, the Government has also announced that it will undertake a review of commercial landlord and tenant legislation to address concerns that the current framework does not reflect the current economic conditions. The review will consider how to enable better collaboration between commercial landlords and tenants and also how to improve the leasing process to ensure our high streets and town centres thrive as we recover from the pandemic and beyond.


  • Updated Support Bubble Guidance

The Guidance on how to form support bubbles has been updated to clarification of how support bubbles work for those in more than one type of bubble, and simplified regarding on travelling to form a support bubble. The main points being

    • Being in a support bubble does not stop someone from forming a childcare bubble or a Christmas bubble
    • People must not meet socially with their childcare bubble – which includes going on holiday or to a pub or restaurant
    • People should form support bubbles locally to reduce travel and therefore limit the spread of the disease.


  • CBI Vaccine Seminar Tomorrow

Following recent announcements on the development of Covid vaccines, the CBI is holding a 10am meeting tomorrow where Tony Danker (Director-General, CBI), Ben Osborn (Managing Director and Country Manager UK, Pfizer) and Professor Devi Sridhar (Chair of Global Public Health, University of Edinburgh), will discuss:

    • More about the process leading to an approved vaccine, and how Pfizer got there.
    • What the manufacture, deployment, logistics and delivery of new vaccines could look like, and what this means for your business.
    • The best ways for employers to plan ahead, and the role they’ll have to take in the meantime.

Tourism Alliance members are welcome to attend the meeting and can register on the following link


  • Tier Review on 16th December

I’ve had a number of questions regarding the timings of the fortnightly review of Tier levels from businesses wanting to be able to plan in the lead-up to Xmas. I’ve spoken to DCMS and  although there is not absolute clarify on this it is expected that the announcement of any changes to the Tier levels in England will occur on or very close to the official review date of 16th December with implementation of any changes occurring a few days later – possibly the 18th December as it is a Friday and the Government usually makes changes ahead of a weekend in order to limit poor behaviour. I will let you know if and when there is further clarity on this.
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