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COVID-19 Update 26th April

Welcome Back Fund Q&A

On 16th April the Government published the guidance on the Welcome back Fund – this is a £56m fund to support the return to high streets safely and it builds on the £50m Reopening High Street Safely Fund (RHSSF) which was allocated to councils in 2020. This fund is much the same as the previous one in that it is aimed at enabling local authorities to put in place additional measures to create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism, particularly in high streets as the economy reopens. However, there are important differences in that it be used to upgrade the local environment and to run campaigns and events as well as just provide safety and social distancing measures.

Part of the fund will be used to provide support for coastal resorts across England to support areas as they prepare for a great summer to safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months. It can also be used to:

    • Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces, and seating areas to make high streets welcoming.
    • Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events that will boost footfall and encourage people back into the high streets and thereby supporting local businesses.
    • Install and refresh signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety.
    • Improve green spaces on high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti.

The Q&A provides considerable detail as to what type of initiatives are eligible for this new funding


Guidance for Domestic Cruise Ship Industry

The Government has published separate guidance for the domestic cruise ship industry. This is:

Step 2

Domestic cruises are not permitted in England.

Step 3

Domestic cruises will be able to operate with up to 1,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is lower. This capacity limit applies to passengers only.COVID-secure guidance will continue to apply. Groups of more than 6 people or 2 households will not be allowed to mix indoors – whether or not they originally booked in the same group.

Step 4

The government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contact. This includes lifting capacity limits for domestic cruises.


Wales Announces Further steps in Reopening

The first Minister has confirmed outdoor hospitality, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants, will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April. This will mean will mean:

  • Outdoor swimming pools and outdoor visitor attractions, including funfairs, amusement parks and theme parks can reopen.
  • Organised outdoor activities for adults for up to 30 people can again take place.
  • Weddings receptions for up to 30 people can take place outdoors at regulated premises

He also signalled that, from 3 May:

  • Gyms, fitness facilities, leisure centres and swimming pools can reopen
  • Extended households will be possible, allowing two households to come together to form an exclusive bubble who can meet and have contact indoors
  • Children’s indoor activities can recommence
  • Organised indoor activities for adults can recommence for up to 15 people, including group exercise classes
  • Community Centres can reopen

Preparations are also being made to move to alert level two on Monday 17 May subject to the public health conditions closer to the time.

Alert level two includes the following changes:

  • Indoor hospitality can reopen
  • Remainder of holiday accommodation can open (e.g. campsites with shared facilities) to members of single households or extended households
  • Entertainment venues can open, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor play centres and areas, casinos, and amusement arcades
  • Indoor visitor attractions can open, including museums, galleries, educational and heritage attractions, and heritage sites such as stately homes
  • The rule of four applies for gatherings in regulated premises like a café (up to 4 people from 4 households) or a single household if more than 4 people.
  • The rule of six continues outdoors. Meeting indoors in private homes will still be limited to the extended household only (exclusive bubble).
  • The limits on organised activities increases to 30 indoors and 50 outdoors.
  • Wedding receptions can take place indoors in regulated premises for up to 30 people.


Council Events Guidance Updated

The guidance for councils on holding events has been updated to include a section on guided walks. This brings it into alignment with existing guidance on guiding by stating that themed walking trails will also be permitted, including guided walks consisting of either a single permitted group or multiple permitted groups that are kept separate throughout the tour. These types of activities are subject to the gathering limits set out in the Roadmap — i.e. outside in groups up to a maximum of 6 people (the Rule of 6) or with one other household, though people from different households will still need to socially distance from each other.


Quarantine Guidance Updated

The quarantine guidance has been updated to state that if it is not possible for an adult to travel to the UK from a Red List country with a child, the parent, guardian or appropriate adult will need to notify DHSC at and request a specific exemption for them to travel alone. Exemptions will only be provided in exceptional circumstances.


Social impacts of Coronavirus

ONS has published new data on how people are reacting to the reopening of the economy. The main points are:

    • More people are leaving home in the last seven days following further easing of lockdown restrictions for reasons such as: to shop for things other than basic necessities (20% among adults who left home compared with 14% last week)
    • 12% of adults left home to undertake leisure activities compared with 8% last week
    • 18% of adults left home to collect takeaway food or drinks compared with 15% last week
    • 54% of adults met up with someone outside their household, childcare or support bubble in the last seven days compared to 57% last week


Public Guidance on Test and Trace Updated

The guidance to the public on the need for every member of a group entering a accommodation/attraction hospitality premises to provide their detail rather than just the lead person has been updated to reflect the legislation on this changing  four weeks ago.


R Number and Growth Rate

As we end another week, the R Number and Growth rate figures are out. This week they are respectively, 0.8 to 1.0 and -5% to -1%, which is essentially unchanged from last week.
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