TIER UPDATE 16/03
Timetable for further easing of lockdown in Scotland
- Stay at Home’ requirement to be replaced with a ‘Stay Local’ message (retaining the current, local authority-based travel restrictions for at least a three-week period)
5 April – subject to review
Easing a wider range of current restrictions in level 4 areas, including:
- Reopening of non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail
- Extending the list of retail permitted to include:
- garden centres (indoor and outdoor), key cutting shops, mobility equipment shops, baby equipment shops, electrical repair shops, hairdressers and barbers (with shopfronts – not mobile services), by appointment only, homeware shops, vehicle showrooms (appointment only) and forecourts
- The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.
26 April – subject to review
If the data allows it, the Scottish government expects a more significant reopening and easing of restrictions from 26 April. This will likely include the following: (some of these activities/settings are already permitted/open in Level 3 island communities).
- Extending outdoor socialising to permit up to 6 people from up to 3 households to gather
- Allowing 12-17 year olds to meet outdoors in groups of 6 from up to 6 households
- Extending outdoor socialising to permit up to 6 people from up to 3 households to gather
- 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.
- Travel within all of mainland Scotland permitted (subject to other restrictions that remain in place)
- 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 to re-open
- Outdoor hospitality to open till 22:00 with alcohol permitted. Indoor hospitality permitted without alcohol and closing at 20:00
- Remaining shops can reopen and mobile close contact services can resume
- Gyms can reopen for individual exercise
17 May – subject to review and progress of vaccination programme
New indicative date for further easing of restrictions. From 17 May it is hoped the following easing of restrictions can be introduced:
- 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
- Re-introducing in-home socialising for up to 4 people from up to 2 households
- adult outdoor contact sport and indoor group exercises can resume
- cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can re-open
- 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
- At this stage no specific dates have been given for easing of restrictions beyond May.
- To help businesses plan it has been indicated from the start of June, it is hoped that Scotland can move back to Level 1.
- From the end of June, it is hoped that Scotland will be able to move to Level 0.
Support for business announced
It was also announced that grants of up to £7,500 for retailers and up to £19,500 for hospitality and leisure businesses will be paid in April to help businesses re-open progressively. These one-off re-start grants will replace ongoing Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF) payments and will provide more money up front to help with the costs of re-opening.
Eligible businesses must have applied to the SFBF by 22 March in order to receive these payments. The last four-weekly SFBF payment of up to £3,000 will be paid on 22 March, as scheduled.
Targeted restart grants for businesses that are not in scope for the current SFBF support package may be considered if the Scottish Government receives further consequentials from the UK Government.
The Scottish Government will continue to work with sector bodies and business organisations to ensure that guidance is developed collaboratively. They recognise that some sectors will still be restricted even at Levels 0 and 1, they will continue to talk to business and other sectors about the contents of Levels 0, 1 and 2, for example the size of gatherings allowed at sporting and cultural events and in places of worship.
The need for physical restrictions and social distancing will also be kept under review.
The Scottish Government will ease restrictions on international travel, including the requirement for some travellers to enter managed isolation on arrival in Scotland, as soon as it is safe to do so. Discussions with the aviation sector on what conditions would need to be met to restart nonessential travel to some international destinations again will be taking place. Even when overseas travel does resume, it is very likely that pre-departure and post-arrival testing will remain in place for some time to come. However, this will be kept under close review.
Currently non-essential travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK and the wider Common Travel Area (CTA) (i.e. the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) is prohibited as a measure to reduce the risk of importation of the virus. Travel within the UK and the wider CTA is important to many families and to the tourism sector. This will be kept under review.
Input into UK Government’s review on COVID status certification
The UK Government is seeking views on the role of Covid-status certification could play in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. COVID-status certification refers to the use of testing or vaccination data to confirm in different settings that individuals have a lower risk of getting sick with or transmitting COVID-19 to others. Views are being sought from a wide range of interests and concerns
To submit evidence go to – https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/covid-status-certification-review-call-for-evidence
See the Terms of Reference for the Covid-status certification review.
Countries added and removed from UK red list
Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar have been added to the UK’s red list. From 4am on Friday 19 March 2021, visitors who have departed from or transited through these countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into the UK. Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter and must stay in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on day 2 and day 8 in England and Scotland. Everyone who arrives directly in Scotland from any country outside the CTA, must quarantine for 10 days and have a valid Managed Quarantine Facility booked prior to departure (unless exempt).
A ban on commercial and private planes travelling from Oman, Ethiopia and Qatar will also come into force on Friday to reduce the risk of importing variants of concern. This excludes cargo and freight without passengers.
Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) and Mauritius will be removed from the list on Friday 19 March.
TIER UPDATE 17/03
Early relaxations for some COVID regulations announced in Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to gradual changes which will come into effect before the next formal review date on or before 15 April.
From 1 April, the regulations will change to:
- Permit ten people from two households to undertake outdoor sporting activities as defined in the regulations. This allows sports such as golf and tennis to resume from this date in small groups of individuals from two households, however club houses and sport facilities including changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms must remain closed apart from essential toilet facilities.
- Up to six people (including children) from two households may meet outdoors in a garden
- Garden centres and plant nurseries can operate a contactless click and collect service.
The Executive also agreed an indicative date of 12 April for:
- Increasing the numbers who can meet outdoors in a garden from six to ten (including children) from two households;
- Allowing contactless click and collect service for all non-essential retail;
- Allowing for sports training to resume by sports clubs affiliated with recognised Governing Bodies, in small groups of up to fifteen people but with all indoor spaces closed except for essential toilet facilities; and
- Removal of the ‘stay at home’ provision in the legislation; promotion of the stay local and work from home messages.
These relaxations planned for 12 April will be subject to Executive ratification in the week after the Easter weekend.
The Executive has also agreed to increase the provision for elite sports from 25 March to allow a number of new competitions to begin.
No spectators will be permitted at any sporting event.
Find out more.
Additionally, please note the statement below which has been provided by DCMS for the Outdoor Events sector to provide some information as to the progress of the Events Research Programme. A similar statement for business events has been requested and will be circulated once received.
‘We have so far only announced that the F.A cup final at Wembley stadium on May 15, and the world snooker championships at the Crucible theatre in Sheffield, which conclude on May 3, will be pilot events. The pilots will not be just sporting events and we have supplemented these via our partnership with Liverpool City Council (‘Project Encore’) to ensure the events represent a comprehensive range of settings. Over the coming weeks the research programme’s board will continue to assess which types of events and settings will be most suitable for establishing an evidence base, following the criteria set by our Science Board. The shortlist of pilot events takes into account a range of requirements needed to test different science-led criteria, including but not limited to indoor and outdoor settings, small and large venues, seated and standing events, different forms of audience participation, transport to events, duration, and ventilation’.
TIER UPDATE 18/03
Today’s press briefing was led by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty and Dr June Raine, MHRA. The Prime Minister addressed concerns over vaccine supply, stating there is a delay in a shipment which means slightly fewer vaccines will be received in April. The Prime Minister explained that this delay would not impact the current vaccination targets, and that there was no change to next steps of the roadmap.
Updated guidance on the Additional Restrictions Grant and the Restart Grant
The guidance on the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) for local authorities in England has been updated to include the £425m top-up from 1 April 2021 announced at the Budget. The ARG funding scheme aims to support businesses severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions. Funding was first made available in Financial Year 2020-2021 and can be used across Financial Years 20/21 and 21/22. However, Local Authorities are encouraged to distribute funding to businesses who require support as soon as possible.
Read the full document here.
Please find attached the TIER note which highlighted the Tourism Minister stating that these grants are aimed at businesses that have not been eligible for other grants, should you wish to share with your members to help make the case to local authorities.
More guidance for local authorities on the Restart Grant for non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England is available here.
Under the Restart Grant scheme, Local Authorities will receive funding to be allocated in one-off grants to businesses. Grants of up to £6,000 will be paid to non-essential retail business premises, to help them reopen safely. Grants of up to £18,000 will be allocated to hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym business premises, which may open later under plans set out in the roadmap and will be more impacted by restrictions when they do reopen
- The Restart Grant is a one-off grant
- Businesses will be eligible for this support from 1 April 2021 and Local Authorities must not make payments to businesses before this date
- Local Authorities will be responsible for determining whether businesses are entitled to a grant under the non-essential retail thresholds, or under the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym business thresholds
Call for views on independent review of Destination Management Organisations
The review of England’s Destination Management Organisations (DMOs is now open for responses and will close at 11.45pm on 28 April 2021. The independent review will assess how DMOs across England are funded and structured, and how they perform their roles, in order to establish whether there may be a more efficient and effective model for supporting English tourism at the regional level. Those interested in submitting a should complete this online survey. More information on the review is available here.
Terms of reference for the Events Research Programme have been published
The Government has published the terms of reference for the Events Research Programme, which was committed to in the roadmap.
The Events Research Programme will oversee a range of pilot events in Spring/Summer to build evidence on the risks associated with Covid-19 transmission routes, the characteristics of events and surrounding activities, and the extent to which mitigation measures can effectively address these risks.
The evidence from these pilot events will be used to inform the government’s decision around Step 4 of the roadmap and will shape government policy to bring about the phased return of fuller audiences to venues and events up and down England.
Read more information on timings and the scope of the programme here.
Wave 7 of ALVA’s Attractions Recovery Tracker
The latest wave of visitor sentiment research, commissioned by ALVA and undertaken by Decision House is now available. The full document is attached, and the headlines are below:
- Since the end of January there has been a notable positive shift in confidence around visiting attractions when they re-open.
- The growth in confidence has been driven by those living in the south of England and Scotland, with the Midlands and North of England yet to see the same increases
- The positive and safe visit experiences at attractions in 2020 have helped lay the foundations for visitor confidence in 2021
- This easing of anxiety and growth in confidence is being driven primarily by less concern around new variants and high infection rates, plus perceived success around the vaccine rollout
- Vaccines are having a strong positive impact on visit confidence across all age groups, although impact is lower in the Midlands and North of England regions at present (uplift of +6%)
- Having the first vaccine dose now increases the proportion saying they will visit any attraction from 47% to 57% (+10%). This compares with an uplift of just 44% to 48% (+4%) at the end of January.
- Most safety measures will still be highly comforting to visitors, although with visit confidence now growing, their impact on the visit decision is perhaps diminishing a little. There is now a small minority (around 7%) who will not visit until a ‘normal’ experience can be delivered
Please also note an important update regarding venue site visits shared by MIA:
‘We have just received confirmation from DCMS that after Monday 29 March, when the stay at home restriction is lifted, visiting a business event venue for a site visit for a future booking for a work based event will be permitted, if this cannot be carried out remotely.
These site visits can take place even if the venue is otherwise closed, however it is essential that safety guidelines for the workplace should be adhered to.
Site visits where there is not a permitted exemption for work purposes or otherwise, should not be taking place in closed venues at this time.
Whilst we are still waiting for further clarification on when viewings for non-work related events can take place, this is a positive step in the right direction for the reopening of the sector.
It is imperative that you take this announcement in the nature that it is intended and ensure that when conducting a site visit you strictly adhere to the covid-19 guidance. ‘
Show rounds / site visits
DCMS have advised that the Cabinet Office have agreed that after March 29 – when the stay at home restriction is lifted – visiting a business event venue for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking for a work-based event (even if the venue is otherwise closed) is permitted if this cannot be reasonably done from home. Safety guidelines for workplaces should be adhered to. Viewings where there is not a permitted exemption for work purposes or otherwise, should not be taking place in closed venues at this time.
In practice that means venue viewings for leisure activities is being treated differently to venue viewings for business activities as the latter is permitted under the guidelines, whereas the former is still restricted.
Guidance will be updated in due course.
Restart Grants and ARG
Please see the update from the Tourism Alliance below. Please note that event venues are included in Annex C of the guidance below.
TIER UPDATE 19/03
Coronavirus Control Plan updated for Wales
The Welsh Government has updated its Coronavirus Control Plan, setting out how and when Wales will emerge from lockdown. The plan has been updated to take account of Wales’ vaccination programme and the emergence of more infectious variants of the virus. It also reflects the risk of new, potentially vaccine-resistant variants of coronavirus being imported into Wales from people holidaying and travelling overseas.
The new plan aims to support the Welsh Government to continue to relax restrictions while the public health situation continues to remain positive. If there are strong signs of a growth in infections, it also sets out how the relaxations may need to be slowed, paused or in the worst case, reversed.
New guidance available for businesses to check if they’re eligible for a coronavirus Restart Grant (England)
The Restart Grant scheme supports businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors with a one-off grant, to reopen safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Eligible businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of up to £18,000 from their local council.
Your business may be eligible if it:
- Is based in England
- Is rate-paying
- Is in the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care or gym sectors
- Was trading on 1 April 2020
What you get
Local councils will use their discretion to determine whether businesses meet the eligibility criteria for this grant scheme.
Eligible businesses will be paid:
- a one-off grant of up to £18,000 in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors
- a one-off grant of up to £6,000 in the non-essential retail sector
- The if you’re in the UK section of the UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents guidance has been updated with new information on the exceptional assurance visa.
- The jobs that qualify for travel exemptions page has been updated say aviation and maritime crew are exempted from red list country quarantine measures
Please note that there will be a Westminster Hall Debate on Event Insurance next Tuesday at 09.25