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COVID19 Update 17th December 2020

  • CJRS and Loan Schemes Extended

The Government has announced that the extension of both the furlough scheme and the various loan schemes

    • The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021 with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages and businesses contributing 20% of wages plus NI and Pension contributions
    • The loan schemes, including Bounce Back loans and CBILS will be extended until 31st March 2021

The Chancellor has also announced that the Budget will take place on 3rd March 2021


  • Changes in Tier levels

The fortnightly review of the tier levels has taken place and the following changes have been announced (all changes will occur at 00:01 on Saturday morning)

Areas moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3

    • Bedfordshire
    • Buckinghamshire
    • Berkshire
    • Peterborough
    • the whole of Hertfordshire
    • Surrey – with the exception of Waverley
    • Hastings and Rother, on the Kent border of East Sussex
    • Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire

Areas moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2

    • Bristol
    • North Somerset

Areas moving from Tier 2 to Tier 1

    • Herefordshire

Here’s a link to the full list of areas by tier level


  • List Of Approved COVID-19 Test Providers

The Government has published a list of approved providers of Covid Tests to help employers set up their own COVID-19 testing programmes.

While this is very welcome, the true benefit to tourism and hospitality businesses from setting-up their own COVID-19 testing programmes will only be realised when the Government produces guidance on how businesses can do this in a way that removes the need businesses to maintain social distancing restrictions in their premises.


  • Air Corridor List Update

This week’s review of the Air Corridor List has resulted in the following countries removed from the list at 04:00 on Saturday 19th December

    • Namibia
    • Uruguay
    • US Virgin Islands

No countries have been added to the list this week. There will now be a two-week pause in the Travel Corridor review process, unless a country or territory shows a significant increase in risk as we will continue to monitor the data. This means that the next regular announcement will be on 7th January 2021


  • CJRS Figures Show Impact on Tourism and Hospitality

HMRC has published new data on the uptake of the CJRS and show that  the tourism and hospitality sector has borne the brunt of the impact from Coronavirus. The figures show that:

    • There were 2.4m people in the UK on furlough (8% of total employment)
    • 1 in 4 people on furlough were in the accommodation and food services sector (27% of the sector)
    • 1 in 15 people on furlough were in the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector (24% of the total)
    • Taking Accommodation and Food, and Arts and Recreation as proxies for the tourism industry, almost 1 in 3 people furloughed are in Tourism and Hospitality

It is also worth noting that these figures predate the second national lockdown and the subsequent increase in tier 3 areas where businesses required to close are predominantly in the tourism and hospitality sector


  • Christmas Guidance Updated

The Christmas guidance has been updated in accordance with the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday that people should exercise caution during the Christmas period. Core statement in the document now read:

    • The safest way to spend this Christmas is with your household or support bubble in your own home. From 23 December to 27 December, you may choose to form a Christmas bubble. To protect you and your loved ones, think very carefully about the risks of forming a Christmas bubble. You should keep your Christmas bubble as small as possible and minimise the time you spend with your bubble.
    • Those who choose to form a Christmas bubble should exercise additional caution and cut down on unnecessary social contact after seeing their Christmas bubble to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. This includes not meeting up with friends or family outside your household for New Years Eve.


  • ONS Impact Research

ONS have published the latest wave of their ongoing research on the impact of coronavirus. Among the wide variety of measures that they have incorporated from footfall to businesses insolvencies, they have included data from Open Table (a restaurant booking platform) on the percentage of seated diners when compared with the same day of the same week in the previous year. What is interesting about this is:

    • It suggests that the people eating in restaurants during the second national lockdown was around 10% of normal
    • It suggests the number of people eating in restaurants in the UK just prior to London entering tier 3 was only about 25% down on 2019

Both figures seem to be  considerably higher than many businesses are reporting.

To provide a contrast the Open Table data, here’s different piece of ONS research also published today. This research indicates that as of 13th December:

    • 43% of accommodation and food services businesses were closed
    • Over three-quarters of businesses in the accommodation and food service activities industry experienced a decrease in turnover compared with normal expectations for this time of year.
    • 3 in 10 businesses in the accommodation and food service activities industry had no or low confidence that they would survive the next three months
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