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COVID-19 Update 8th April 2021

  • Primary Guidance for Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Takeaway Services Updated

The Working Safely During Coronavirus guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and take-aways has been updated to provide more detail on taking payments. For premises that sell alcohol, there is a requirement for table service only – this applies even if the customer is not purchasing alcohol – and for payment to be taken at the table. However, because these businesses are only able to serve customers sitting outside from 12th April until 17th May, and electronic payment connections may not have sufficient range, the guidance has been updated to say that:

“if it’s not possible to take payment outdoors, for example due to a technical issue, you can take payment indoors as a last resort. If you need to take payment indoors the customer should wear a face covering unless exempt, you should ensure only one customer is indoors at any time for the purpose of making payment, and you should operate a tab system to ensure that customers do not need to make multiple indoor payments during their time at the venue.”


  • Safer Travel Guidance Updated

With the increase in people returning to work and employers asking staff to take a test, the guidance on safer travel has been updated to include a new section on best practice when travelling to a test centre. The guidance is to:

    • If possible, walk, cycle or drive in a private vehicle alone to the test site.
    • If driving, travel by yourself or, if necessary, only with people from your household or support bubble.
    • If using public transport to travel to the test site, you should travel alone. Try to avoid travelling on busy routes or during busy periods, such as rush hour.

If employees have concerns about travelling back from the testing venue safely should they test positive, they should discuss this in advance with their employer and arrange to attend a community test centre near  home, or arrange a home test if available.


  • CJRS Guidance Updated

The Guidance on employee registration dates has been updated with greater detail as wo when an employee is eligible for furlough payments. The key points are that

    • The employee’s reference date is 19 March 2020: if you made a payment of earnings to the employee in the tax year 2019 to 2020 (and reported this to HMRC on a Real Time Information (RTI) Full Payment Submission (FPS) on or before 19 March 2020)
    • The employee’s reference date is 30 October 2020: if the 19 March 2020 employee reference date does not apply and you made a payment of earnings to the employee which was reported to HMRC on an RTI FPS between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020 (inclusive)
    • Where neither 19 March 2020 nor 30 October 2020 reference dates apply the employee is not eligible for furlough payment before 1 May 2021.
    • The employee’s reference date is 2 March 2021: If you made a payment of earnings to the employee which was reported to HMRC on an RTI FPS between 31 October 2020 and 2 March 2021 (inclusive). These employees will be eligible for furlough payments from 1 May 2021.


  • Sports and Gym Facilities Guidance Updated

For Mondays the restrictions on sports and activities businesses will be relaxed. The main changes are that:



    • All remaining outside sports facilities can open including skating rinks and trampolining parks



    • Almost all inside sports facilities can open indoor businesses can open including gyms and leisure centres, sport courts and pitches, dance studios and fitness studios, climbing walls and climbing wall centres, multi-sport facilities (including driving ranges, archery venues and indoor riding centres) and swimming pools. The only businesses that must remain closed are indoor skating rinks and trampolining parks
    • Changing rooms can open but their use should be minimised
    • Indoor sport facilities can only be used for individual activity or for activities by people from the same household (or support/childcare bubble)
    • Personal training and coaching can take place either 1:1 or within households/bubbles.
    • Children can take part in indoor sport and physical activity in any number and can use indoor trampoline and ice skating facilities, which are closed to adults.

It is worth noting that gyms and other sports facilities that are part of hotels are able to open from Monday even if other services such as accommodation and restaurant may not be open.


  • UK Gigabit Voucher

This one is really worth knowing about. DCMS is launching their “UK Gigabit Voucher” scheme today. This was announced on 19 March as part of the wider £5bn ‘Project Gigabit’ programme. This new voucher scheme builds on the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme and is aimed providing micro grants of up to £1,500 for households and  £3,500 for businesses in the hardest to reach rural areas (with current speeds of less than 100Mbps) to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections when part of a group scheme.

To help raise awareness and drive uptake of the UK Gigabit Voucher, the voucher website includes a new premises level postcode checker that enables you to establish whether you are eligible for the Voucher, and information on other support that may be available.

To qualify for a business voucher you will be asked to self-certify that you are an Small or Medium size Enterprise (SME)

    • Up to 249 employees and annual turnover no greater than £36 million; and/or
    • An annual balance sheet total not exceeding £18 million.

You will also be asked to:

    • provide evidence of your status as a SME or sole trader.
    • self-certify that you will have received less than 325,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) in public grants over any period of three fiscal years including the current year, including the voucher contribution (this includes all coronavirus-related grants)

It’s also worth noting that not-for-profit and charity SMEs are eligible for the vouchers.
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