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COVID-19 Update 12th March 2021

  • CJRS Guidance Updated

The guidance documents for businesses in the details of the scheme and how to apply have been updated to incorporate the extension of the furlough until the end of September – so these are the ones to send out to your members.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-step-by-step-guide-for-employers

 

  • Wales Reopening

The Welsh First Minister has announced the next steps in reopening in Wales, which start tomorrow.

From Saturday 13 March:

    • No more than four people from two households will be able to meet in their local area outdoors, including in gardens. Children under 11 and carers do not count towards this limit. There must be no indoors mixing and social distancing should be followed.
    • Outdoor sports facilities can reopen, including tennis courts, golf courses and bowling greens. A maximum of four people from two households can take part in activities using local sports facilities.
    • Indoor care home visits can resume for one designated visitor, with the permission of the care home.

 

From Monday 15 March:

    • All primary pupils and those in qualifications years will return. Schools will have the flexibility to bring in year 10 and 12 pupils, to support them to progress to the next stage of their learning, and more learners will return to colleges. There will also be flexibility for in-school check-ins for all other pupils. All learners will return after the Easter break.
    • Hairdressers and barbers can reopen by appointment only to cut hair.

 

From Monday 22 March:

    • The first steps to re-open non-essential retail will begin. Restrictions on the sale of non-essential items will be lifted for those shops, which are currently open.
    • Garden centres will also reopen.

A review will take place on 25th March and, if the public health conditions continue to be favourable, from 27 March:

    • The stay local restrictions will be lifted to allow people to travel within Wales.
    • Self-contained holiday accommodation will re-open for one household.
    • Organised children’s activities outdoors will restart.
    • Libraries will reopen.

Self-contained accommodation includes:

    • Hotels and other serviced accommodation (e.g. B&Bs, hostels, etc.) that do provide en-suite rooms and can provide room service meals.
    • Other accommodation that is entirely self-contained (e.g. self-catering cottages, apartments, etc.)
    • Glamping or any other accommodation with ensuite shower/bath, WC and kitchen facilities
    • Holiday caravans, Touring caravans (including seasonal),  motorhomes and campervans where they have their own on-board shower, WC and kitchen facilities
    • Caravan & Touring Sites will need to ensure the strict application of industry guidance on shared waste disposal and water points.
    • All shared facilities, aside from water and disposal points will remain closed including toilets, shower blocks, laundry, nightclubs, swimming pools
    • Bars, Restaurants and Cafes can operate a Take Away service only.
    • Accommodation can only be let to members of the same household and their support bubble

A further review on 1 April will consider whether all remaining shops and close contact services can reopen on the 12 April. This is in line with planned re-opening in England

https://gov.wales/stay-local-wales-takes-first-steps-out-of-lockdown

 

He also announced an additional £150m to support businesses to the end of March, which are not yet able to open.  The extra funding will see businesses in the hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail sectors that pay non-domestic rates qualify for an additional payment of up to £5,000.

    • businesses with a rateable value of under £12,000 receive an extra £4,000 grant payment.
    • Businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £500,000 will receive £5,000.

https://gov.wales/extra-150-million-support-businesses-wales

 

  • Changes to Scottish Guidance

The Scottish Government has updated it’s Stay at Home guidance to allow:

 

    • Up to 4 adults from up to 2 households can meet outdoors – you should still stay as close to home as possible adults can take part in outdoor non-contact sport and organised group exercise in groups of up to 15 people
    • Young people aged 12 to 17 can meet outdoors in groups of up to 4 people from 4 different households take part in outdoor non-contact sports and other organised activities in groups of up to 15 people – and travel across local council boundaries to take part in these activities

The Scottish Government also announced plans to allow communal worship to restart with up to 50 people from 26 March

At present, and subject to review, the Scottish Government plans to move the country to Level Three status on 26th April, which will allow hospitality businesses to open.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/

 

  • Impact of Coronavirus on the Economy

With the publication of the GDP and trade figures today, the ONS has also produced an analysis of the impact on different sectors of the UK economy. As ever, this highlights that the tourism businesses are still being disproportionate impacted. Some of the key findings are, unsurprisingly, that:

    • Aviation is operating at just 6.4% of what it was in February 2020
    • Tour Operators and Travel Agents are down 88.7% on Feb 2020
    • The Accommodation sector is down 79.3%
    • Arts and entertainment is down 68.7%
    • Pubs and restaurants are down by 63.3%

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/articles/coronavirusandtheimpactonoutputintheukeconomy/january2021

Interestingly, however, the ONS’s weekly social impact survey shows that perceptions of life returning to normal stagnated this week with 30% of adults feeling that life will return to normal in six months or less (down from 32% last week) while 20% felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal (the same as last week).

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/12march2021

 

  • Environment Agency Boating Guidance

The Environment Agency has updated it’s guidance on boating along the lines of the Q&A answer on boating that I sent through a couple of day’s ago. The guidance is:

    • For all steps of the Government roadmap, those who live aboard their boats can continue to travel to access essential services and facilities.
    • From 29 March, people should still avoid travelling further than is reasonably necessary on board their boat or to take part in their waterway activity, continue to stay local where possible and minimise travel throughout the first 3 steps of the roadmap. “Staying in your local area means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.”
    • Boats and businesses must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits at each step unless meeting the conditions for a permitted organised gathering. These will be reintroduced at Step 2 for outdoor gatherings and Step 3 for indoor gatherings.
    • Where activities are permitted, you must still adhere to the latest social distancing rules. COVID-Secure guidance will also remain in place up to and including Step 3 (subject to a proposed review of social distancing rules ahead of Step 4).
    • Anyone making plans for later in the summer should follow government advice carefully and check GOV.UK to ensure you are keeping yourselves and others safe.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-environment-agency-update

 

  • R Number and Growth Rate

This week’s R Number and Growth Rate are 0.6 to 0.8 and -7% to -4% respectively. This is lower than last week’s  R number of 0.7 to 0.9 and growth rate of -5% to -3%  which suggests that, so far, the reopening of education has not impacted on infection rates which is good news.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk

agto@agto.co.uk
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