Skip to content

COVID-19 Update 17th March 2021

  • Additions to Red List Countries

The Government has announced that Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar will join the Red List of countries from 4am Friday 19 March 2021. This means that travel to the UK is banned from these countries except for British and Irish nationals and for people with residency rights. Those allowed to travel from these countries will be required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel quarantine facility for 10 days. Of the countries on the list, Qatar is the most important as Doha is a significant aviation hub for long-haul flights to the UK.


  • Certification Terms of Reference

Yesterday I sent through the short consultation that is being undertaken as part of the Certification review. The Government has now published the terms of reference for this review, which are:

Whether there is a case for introducing COVID-status certification, including:

    • the extent to which certification would be effective in reducing risk, including evidence on the likely clinical and behavioural impacts in different settings taking consideration of emerging evidence on vaccine efficacy, effectiveness, and effect on transmission
    • the extent to which certification would be effective in reopening parts of the economy and society more quickly and more safely than otherwise
    • the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of COVID-status certification
    • the implications of certification for those unable or unwilling to get vaccinated or tested, including the equalities implications; and ○ the impacts of certification on those groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic

The mechanics of how COVID-status certification would work, including:

    • how COVID status would be conferred, including through vaccination and the use of different testing technologies
    • the mechanisms through which COVID-status could be demonstrated, including technological and non-technological options
    • what limits, if any, should be placed on which organisations could use certification for which purposes
    • for how long the use of COVID-status certification may be relevant.



  • Weddings

Yesterday the Working Safely with Coronavirus guidance for hotels and historic location was updated to take into account Stage 1 relaxations. Both sets of guidance stated:

Weddings/civil partnerships and funerals: Weddings and civil partnerships are only permitted in exceptional circumstances. You should check the guidance on wedding and civil partnerships receptions and celebrations and funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.

However, this morning the UK Weddings Taskforce came out with a statement saying that they have been told that from 12th April to 17th May, weddings can only be held in “places of worship, public buildings, locations and outdoor settings that are already permitted to open”


  • Scotland’s Reopening Plan

Scotland has published it’s reopening plan with more details on when restrictions are planned to be lifted. Key dates are:


2 April

    • The ‘Stay at Home’ requirement is lifted and replacing it with a ‘Stay Local’ message


5 April

    • the resumption of outdoor contact sport for 12-17 year olds
    • return of college students within the top three priority groups
    • reopening of non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail
    • extending the list of retail permitted


12-19 April

    • all children back to school full-time


26 April

    • tourist accommodation to reopen (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering)
    • weddings and funerals for up to 50 (including wakes and receptions with no alcohol permitted)
    • libraries, museums, galleries re-open
    • outdoor hospitality to open till 22:00 with alcohol permitted. Indoor hospitality permitted without alcohol and closing at 20:00
    • social mixing in indoor public places will be subject to current maximum of 4 people from up to 2 households The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.


17 May

    • re-introducing in-home socialising for up to 4 people from up to 2 households
    • further re-opening of hospitality: bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes can stay open until 22:30 indoors with alcohol permitted and 2 hour time-limited slots and until 22:00 outdoors with alcohol permitted
    • adult outdoor contact sport and indoor group exercises can resume
    • cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can re-open subject to capacity constraints
    • small scale indoor and outdoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints (to be confirmed following stakeholder engagement)
    • non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors


  • Northern Ireland Business Support Grants

New business support grants of £178m have been announced in Northern Ireland. The two grants that have the most significance for tourism businesses are:

    • 50k for businesses with an NAV over 51k that are eligible for the 12 months rates holiday (retail, hospitality, leisure, tourism, manufacturing, childcare, newspaper producers). Examples of the kinds of business that this will benefit are shops, car showrooms, garden centres, gyms and fitness suites, equestrian centres, and caravan parks
    • 10k for businesses that received the £25k Retail, Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and have not been paid LRSS or CRBSS Part B.


  • Artist Mobility Webinar

Arts Infopoint UK (a partnership between Wales Arts International/Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, Arts Council England and Arts Council Northern Ireland) is holding a free webinar at 2pm – 3:30pm on Monday 22 March 2021 to provide businesses with a general overview of what has changed since the UK’s exit of the EU and how professionals can prepare for cross border work in the near future. The session will be chaired by Marie Fol, President of the board of On the Move, in conversation with Anita Debaere, Director of PEARLE* – Live Performance Europe and Anaïs Lukacs from MobiCulture.

This webinar will be of interest to destinations and venues that stage events with performers or cultural exhibits from Europe.

Register via Eventbrite here:


  • Travel Demand Management Toolkit

DfT has produced a toolkit for local transport authorities to help them develop travel demand management programmes that will:

    • support LTAs in managing the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the transport system
    • manage a range of other scenarios where there are increased pressures on the transport network or a mismatch between supply and demand
Back To Top