News and updates
Stay up to date with latest news from Government and how it impacts the tourism industry.
Removal Of Travel Restrictions
The Government has announced from 4am on 18th March 18 March, regardless of vaccination status, people travelling into England will not have to:
- take any COVID-19 tests – before you travel or after you arrive
- fill in a UK passenger locator form before you travel
The Government noted that it will maintain a range of contingency measures to counter any new harmful variants of COVID-19 entering the UK - although their approach will be to use the least stringent measures to minimise the impact on travel and that the contingency measures will only be implemented in extreme circumstances.
ONS has published the latest wave of research on the social impacts of Coronavirus.
The data period 3 to 13 February 2022 provides the first insights following the removal of Plan B restrictions in England/ Following the easing of these restrictions, we have seen changes including:
- The proportion of working adults who only worked from home in the last 7 days decreased to 17% (22% in the previous period)
- The proportion of working adults only travelling to work increasing to 54% from 48% in the previous period (19 to 30 January 2022).
- The use of face coverings in shops and on public transport has decreased with 77% of adults reporting always or often wearing face coverings while in shops (94% in the previous period)
- 78% reported wearing a face covering throughout the journey on public transport (90% in the previous period).
- Just over one-third (35%) of adults reported always or often maintaining social distancing (44% in the previous period); this is the lowest proportion of adults reporting maintaining social distancing since data collection on this measure started in September 2020.
- The proportion of adults reporting that they were worried or somewhat worried about the effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their lives decreased to around 4 in 10 (43%) from 66% in the Christmas period (15 December 2021 to 3 January 2022)
Impact of Covid on Tourism and Hospitality
ONS has released the latest wave of ongoing research on the impact of Covid on businesses and regions of the UK
There is a dataset that sits behind this which compares the impact of Covid on the Tourism and Hospitality sector and compares this to UK businesses as a whole.
There are datasets on:
- Trading status
- Workforce status
- Cash reserves
- Net turnover balances
These datasets not only compare tourism and hospitality businesses to all UK businesses on all these criteria but also split this down to a regional level so you can see the impacts of covid on tourism and hospitality businesses in Yorkshire. You can access the data here.
Prime Minister’s Announcement On Restrictions
The Prime Minister announced in parliament that the Government is planning to remove the remaining Covid-related restrictions centred on self-isolation within two weeks rather than waiting to the 24th March. This would mean that people would only be advised to not go to work if they tested positive for Covid rather than it being a legal requirement to self-isolate.
He also announced that, when Parliament resumes on 21st February, the Government would publish a new Government strategy for living with Covid and Officials at No.10 have indicated that there could be an update on the remaining travel rules at the same time which would certainly support international travel.
Government Response on Broadband
The Government has published its response on the consultation on the provision of broadband to hard-to-reach places – many of which are tourism destinations. The good news is that the response recognises that the businesses that responded to the call for evidence were predominantly in the agriculture and tourism industries and that tourism can help rural economies.
Friday 28th January
Primary Guidance Updated
With the Removal of restrictions, all the Primary Guidance documents for businesses have been updated accordingly. The links for them are:
Reporting Taxable Grants
HMRC has produced a new video for businesses on how they should report any taxable grants that they have received through the pandemic on their Company Tax Return
Removal of Travel Restrictions
Government have announced the relaxation of travel restrictions on people arriving into England.
From 3rd February
12 to 15-year-olds in England will be able to prove their vaccination status via the digital NHS pass for international outbound travel.
From 11th February
People who are fully vaccinated will be able to enter the country without undertaking a pre-departure test or a Day 2 test once in England
People who are not vaccinated will be able to enter England if they have a pre-departure test and have a Day 2 PCR test. They will still need to fill out a passenger locator form to be able to prove that they have done this.
People under the age of 18 will be treated as being fully vaccinated.
The guidance on this has not yet been published but I will send it out when in comes through.
Letter From Business Secretary to Local Authorities
The Business Secretary has written to Local Authorities regarding the distribution of the Omicron and Additional Restrictions Grant that were announced to support businesses impacted when the move was made to Plan B.
The Business Secretary has instructed councils that still have more than 5% of their existing ARG funding to distribute the money to businesses that need it.
Lifting Of Plan B Restrictions
The Prime Minister has announced Plan B restrictions are being removed. Here’s a link to the announcement:
The key components of the announcement are that:
From Today, 19th January: Workers are no longer asked to work from home if they can. People should talk to their employers to agree arrangements to return to the workplace.
From 27th January: There is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. People are still advised to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.
Venues and events are no longer required by law to check the COVID Pass status of customers or staff.
From 24th March: It is not expected that the self-isolation requirements will be renewed. A new strategy for living with Coronavirus will be launched
This is a return to Plan A guidance; some restrictions remain including the need to self-isolate and testing related to overseas travel. Individual businesses can still require customers to wear masks or have their covid pass status verifies if they deem that to be in the best interests of staff and customers.
This announcement does not mean that the primary sector specific guidance for businesses is going to be removed. Rather, it is going to be updated as guidance on how businesses best mitigate the ongoing risks associated with coronavirus.
Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay
The Statutory Sick Pay scheme has been reintroduced, but businesses can only claim for employees who were off work on or after 21 December 2021. The new date for PAYE scheme eligibility is 30 November 2021. The maximum number of employees you can claim for is the number you had across your PAYE schemes on 30 November 2021.
Self-Isolation Guidance Updated
Guidance on self-isolation has been updated to reflect the change to 5 day self-isolation. The new guidance is:
You should self-isolate at home while you get a PCR test and wait for the results. You must self-isolate from the day your symptoms started, or from the day you receive a positive test result if you do not have any symptoms. You can end your self-isolation on the sixth day of self-isolation following 5 full days isolating and 2 negative rapid lateral flow test tests taken on consecutive days.
The first rapid lateral flow test should not be taken before the fifth day. The self-isolation period remains 10 full days for those without negative results from 2 rapid lateral flow tests taken a day apart.
Test And Trace Support Payment
The guidance for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment, which is available to the self-employed or employees on low incomes has been updated to say that those who meet the financial eligibility are eligible for the grant if they have to self-isolate because they have:
- tested positive for COVID-19 following a PCR test or an assisted lateral flow device (LFD) test; or
- been notified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and they are not exempt from self-isolation.
Government Statement: Cutting Self-Isolation to Five Days
Below is a link to a copy of the statement that the Health Secretary made to Parliament on reducing the period of self-isolation to 5 Days from Monday 17th January. The relevant passage is:
“UKHSA data shows that around two thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day 5 and we want to use the testing capacity that we’ve built up to help these people leave isolation safely. After reviewing all of the evidence, we’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to 5 full days in England.
From Monday 17th January, people can test twice before they go, leaving isolation at the start of day 6.
These 2 tests are critical to these balanced and proportionate plans and I’d urge everyone to take advantage of the capacity we’ve built up in tests so we can restore the freedoms to this country, while we are keeping everyone safe.”
Business Impact Survey
ONS has published the results of their latest business impact survey which covers the period from 29th December to 9th January. It shows that while 76.7% of all businesses are fully trading at the moment, accommodation and food services is the sector most impacted by omicron with only 57.6% of businesses trading fully. This is followed by transportation with only 66.3% of businesses trading fully.
The survey also indicates that 60% of businesses in the accommodation and food sector experienced a decrease in revenue over this period compared to just 32% across all industries. This is followed by the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector in which 40% of businesses reported a decline in venue.
In the survey 11% of businesses reported that they had no cash reserves, while 7% reported low or no confidence they would survive the next three months. This compares to the 26% of businesses having no cash reserves and 40.8% of businesses having low or no confidence in their survival in the Financial Impact survey that we completed this week.
Social Impact Survey
ONS has also released another wave of its social impact survey. Some of the key points for the tourism industry are:
- UK daily flights were 68% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2020 in the first week of January. The is about 2.5 times the number of daily flights in 2021 which is a step in the right direction.
- The seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners fell by 48 percentage points in the week to 10 January 2022, to 88% of the level in the equivalent week of 2020; in London and Manchester seated diners fell by 23 and 57 percentage points over the same period
Guidance on workplace testing updated
The guidance to employers has been updated to reflect the change in policy from today on the need to take PCR tests if you test positive using a lateral from test.
The new guidance is:
If any workers recieve a positive rapid lateral flow test result but do not have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, they should report their result and self-isolate. They do not need to take a follow-up PCR test unless:
- they want to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment
- they have a health condition that means they may be suitable for new COVID-19 treatments
- they are taking rapid lateral flow tests as part of research or surveillance programmes, and the programme asks them to do so
- they are an international arrival and have a positive day 2 rapid lateral flow test
They can end self-isolation after 7 days, following 2 negative rapid lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart. They should not take the first rapid lateral flow test before day 6.
Self-Employment Income Support Guidance Updated
The guidance for Self-Employed people claiming SEISS funding has been updated to include a new section for people who have still not made a claim because of either:
- An HMRC error
- Other exceptional circumstances
People who have not made a claim because of these reasons have until 28th February to contact HMRC and explain why they’ve not been able to make a claim. When they contact HMRC they will need their:
- National Insurance number
- Unique Taxpayer Reference
- Answer further questions related to why they have been prevented from making a claim
Change In Testing Rules For Travel Into England
The guidance has been updated to show that from today, people who qualify as fully vaccinated do not need to take a COVID-19 test before travel to England.
Social Impacts of Coronavirus
The latest wave of ONS’s survey on the social impacts of Coronavirus have been published. It covers the period between the 15th December and 3rd January. Results which show the impact on tourism and hospitality businesses are:
- Only 29% of people said that they were meeting up with family or friends in restaurants, pubs, bars or cafes (down from 34% previously)
- Only 13% said that they were going to a Christmas market (down from 22% previously)
- 35% said that they expect it would take more than a year for life to return to normal (interestingly, only 20% said that at Xmas in 2020 when vaccines were first being rolled-out, indicating that people are more pessimistic than they were a year ago).
Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and ARG Top-up Payment
The latest iteration of the ARG allocations to councils and payments to businesses has been published which includes the allocation of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and the third tranche of the ARG (Additional Restrictions Grant) funding to councils.
Removal of Pre-Departure Testing
From 4am on Friday 7th January the requirement for pre-departure testing for people travelling overseas from England will be scrapped to help facilitate overseas travel. The requirement to self-isolate on arrival until receipt of a negative PCR will also be removed for those arriving into England and will be replaced with the need to undertake a lateral flow test no later than the end of Day 2. If this test is positive, then a PCR test is required.
Confirmatory PCR Tests To Be Temporarily Suspended
The UK Health Security Agency has announced that, from 11 January, it is suspending the requirement for people who test positive using a lateral flow test to then take a confirmatory PCR test. Anyone who receives a positive lateral flow test result should still report their result on GOV.UK and must self-isolate immediately. After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced.
There is, however, an exception to this revised approach that employers should be aware of when communicating this change to staff. That is:
- People who are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR if they receive a positive LFD result, to enable them to access financial support.
The government is extending the application window for emergency funding from the Culture Recovery Fund. The Expressions of Interest deadline is now noon on 18 January 2022. Those invited to apply will have until noon 3 February to submit a full application. An additional £30 million in emergency funding has been made available through the Culture Recovery Fund to support museums, cinemas, theatres and heritage organisations with the impact of the Omicron variant this winter.
3rd January 2022
Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant
The grant eligibility is largely the same as previous grants to hospitality and leisure businesses. The key features are:
- Businesses with a rateable value of up to £15k will get £2,667
- Businesses with a rateable value above £15k but less than £51k will get £4,000
- Businesses with a rateable value over £51k will get £6,000
- Leisure business are defined as a business that provide opportunities, experiences and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events and days and nights out
- Retail businesses, coach tour operators, and tour operators are specifically excluded from the scheme (from this and the list of eligible businesses below, it would seem that Travel Agents have also been excluded but I need to check this)
The list of eligible businesses can be found on page 18 of the guidance here.
Additional Restrictions Grant
There is new guidance for the additional £102m ARG funding pot. This third top-up is being allocated to councils on a per business basis, as per previous tranches. Some of the key features are:
- Unlike previous tranches, councils are not allowed to use this new funding for business support activities so all funding must be given to businesses as grants payments.
- All ARG funding, including this tranche, need to be dispersed by 31 March 2022
- Businesses must self-certify that they meet all eligibility criteria and Local Authorities must verify the evidence provided as part of prepayment checks
- Councils are specifically encouraged to provide funding for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care, the travel and tourism sector, including group travel, travel agents and tour operators, coach operators, wedding industries, nightclubs, theatres, events industries, wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses (including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses), gyms, and other businesses that may have not received other grant funding.
- There is no restriction on the number of grants a business may receive, subject to subsidy limits.
Events And Attractions Guidance Updated
The primary guidance for events and attractions businesses has been updated to include:
- changes to the guidance on face coverings
- working from home
- testing and self-isolation
- Information has been added on COVID status checks, which are now legally required in some venues and events.
Government announces additional support
21st December 2021
Today the Government has announced a £1bn fund to support Hospitality and Leisure Businesses. This fund comprises:
- £683 million for grants for hospitality and leisure businesses in England comprising one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for eligible businesses
- £102 million top-up for the additional restrictions grant for local authorities to support other businesses
- £30m for the cultural recovery fund to support theatres and museums
- There is also a statutory sick pay rebate scheme which will reimburse employers in the UK with fewer than 250 workers for the cost of paying statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for up to two weeks.
Test And Trace Payment Scheme
The guidance on the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment for eligible staff and the self-employed has been updated to consider changes to self-isolation exemptions.
Public Guidance Updated
The main guidance for the public has been updated with new guidance on daily testing for contacts of positive cases, and removal of out of date information on self-isolation for contacts of Omicron cases.
Exemptions From Travel Restrictions
The guidance on those jobs that qualify for an exemption to travel restrictions has been updated with further guidance for people in international organisations granted privileges and immunity in the UK
Updated Guidance for Security Industry
An updated version of the guidance for workers in the security industry has been published. This contains important Q&As on situations where staff are required to ask customers for their Covid Pass or proof of vaccination. The guidance is that any staff member can check a Covid Pass or proof of vaccination, a person would need a SIA license to stop a person entering the premises if they try to force entry.
Test And Trace Guidance Updated
The Test and trace Guidance has been updated to say that contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) who are not legally required to self-isolate are advised to take daily lateral flow device (LFD) tests for 7 days. If any of these tests are positive, they should self-isolate and arrange to have a PCR test. This also applies to contacts of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
International Covid Pass for 12-15 Year Olds
The Government has announced that fully vaccinated 12 to 15 year olds are now able to access a NHS COVID Pass letter for international travel. However, children remain exempt from certification in domestic settings and at the UK border
Accommodation Primary Guidance Updated
The primary guidance for accommodation businesses has now been updated regarding the wearing of facemasks in public areas.
- Staff and other workers must wear face coverings when they are working in any indoor area that is open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public.
- If there is a barrier, such as a screen, between workers and members of the public, staff behind the barrier or screen are not required to wear a face covering.
- Staff are not required to wear face coverings when they are in areas that aren’t open to the public (such as a back office) or are unlikely to come into contact with the public (such as maintenance staff working in cordoned-off areas).
- Staff are not required to wear face coverings when they are in hospitality facilities (such as restaurants and bars), and other areas which are mainly being used for eating or drinking (such as a room or area hired for a drinks reception).
- A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles.
- If any of your staff work in close contact with guests (such massage therapists, security staff, beauticians), or work in contaminated areas (such as cleaners and housekeeping staff) you should also think about whether they need additional protection or personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- People can take off their face covering when they have a good reason to remove it (a ‘reasonable excuse’). For example, people can take off their face covering when they are eating or drinking in any area. They must put their face covering back on when this reason no longer applies (when they have stopped eating or drinking).
The Government has published guidance for venues and events with require mandatory Covid check from Wednesday 15th December. Here are some of the main points in the very detailed guidance.
Where Checks Are Required?
The checks will be mandatory at:
- nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
- other late night dance venues, where all of the following apply:
- the venue is open between 1am and 5am
- it serves alcohol after 1am
- it has a dancefloor (or space for dancing)
- it provides music, whether live or recorded, for dancing
- indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions
- outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals
- events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events
Organisations responsible for these venues and events must take reasonable steps to ensure that all visitors aged 18 or above show an NHS COVID Pass, or approved proof of vaccination, testing, or an exemption, to enter the venue or event. Evidence of natural immunity must not be accepted as an alternative to proof of vaccination or testing.
Covid Pass Checks
The NHS COVID Pass Verifier app is recommended to check the NHS COVID Pass. If you choose to not use the Verifier App, you’ll need to ensure that attendees’ NHS COVID Passes are checked visually for an expiry date and a shimmer animation that confirms a Pass is live and not screenshotted. You should check the online NHS COVID Pass where possible but can also check the wallet (which does not have a shimmer animation).
Proof of a recent negative test result
Those not using the NHS COVID Pass and accessing settings by showing alternative proof of a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test taken within the past 48 hours must have reported their test result to NHS Test and Trace. They will then have received a text or email notification which should be checked as a condition of entry. A valid notification of a test result from NHS Test and Trace should include all of the following:
- the name of the person who took the test
- their age or date of birth
- the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
- confirmation that the test was either a polymerase chain reaction test or a lateral flow test
- confirmation that the result of the test was negative
Where attendees to your venue or event are international residents, you should accept certain vaccination proofs from other countries. If the vaccination proof is accepted at the UK border, you should accept it at your venue or event. For more information, read the guidance on approved COVID-19 vaccines and countries with approved proof of vaccination.
Venues That Change Category
There will be a range of venues that change category – such as a pub changing to a late night dance venue. In these situations that guidance is that the business must:
- taken reasonable steps to ensure that all customers who are in the venue when it changes category has an NHS COVID Pass (or other accepted evidence), even if they entered the premises before that time.
While COVID-19 status checks are not mandatory for workers at these venues and events, reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that all adults working or providing services (as an employee, contractor or volunteer) in customer-facing roles show evidence of one of the following:
- a valid NHS COVID Pass
- an acceptable alternative proof of either vaccination, clinical trial participation, or medical exemption, for example, international equivalents accepted at the UK border
- an alternative proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, for example, text or email confirmation from NHS Test and Trace
Organisers are not required to use the NHS COVID Pass, even if the attendance thresholds are met at:
- communal worship
- wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and equivalents (including alternative wedding ceremonies)
- receptions celebrating a wedding or other significant life event (like a christening, bar and bat mitzvah or mehndi ceremony) that are organised by an individual (and not a business, a charitable, benevolent, or philanthropic institution or a public body).
- funerals and commemorative events (except where commemorative events are held in a nightclub)
- outdoor events in public spaces where these are unticketed and not charged for (such as markets, street parties, protests and carnivals)
- events in private houses (including private gardens) where people do not have to pay or hold a ticket to enter
Spot checks may be used in the following limited circumstances if it’s not reasonably possible to check proof of COVID-19 status for all attendees and if:
- The event is:
- an indoor event with 500 or more attendees expected to stand or move around
- an outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees expected to stand or move around
- any event with more than 10,000 attendees
- The majority of attendees are expected to arrive for a fixed start time, where entrants are likely to all arrive in a short space of time.
- It is not possible to set up checkpoints away from the entry points, and carrying out a check on every person would lead to a crowd gathering outside the venue or event.
- That crowd would either present a risk to the safety of the persons in the crowd, or to any other person, or provide a potential target for terrorist action – read more information on hospitality security considerations
In these circumstances, if it is not practical to check the NHS COVID Pass of all attendees, you must carry out an assessment of risk and determine the percentage of checks that can safely be carried out. The responsible person must submit this assessment of risk to apply to the relevant local authority at least 10 working days in advance of the event.
Updating Of Primary Guidance
There has been an update of the primary guidance for tourism businesses. Please treat the notice at the top of the guidance as an indication as to what the body of the guidance will say when it has been fully updated.
Detailed guidance is due imminently.
Hotel and Guest Accommodation
This has been updated with a notice stating;
- From Friday 10 December, face coverings will be legally required in most public indoor venues, including public areas of hotels and guest accommodation facilities.
- From Monday 13 December, office workers who can work from home should do so. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go to the workplace.
- From Wednesday 15th December, certain businesses and some events are required by law to check the COVID status of workers and customers, using the NHS COVID Pass. This includes unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees. To enter or work in these venues and events, customers and workers must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative in the last 48 hours (unless they are exempt from these requirements).
Events and Attractions
The guidance has been updated with a notice at the beginning that is essentially the same as for accommodation businesses except that the guidance for 10th December states:
- From Friday 10 December, face coverings will be legally required in most public indoor venues, including some types of events and visitor attractions, such as theatres and cinemas.
The body of the guidance has yet to be updated:
Restaurants, Pubs. Bars Etc
This guidance has a notice attached at the beginning which is a variation of that on other guidance:
- From Friday 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in some public indoor settings, such as theatres and cinemas (but not in hospitality settings)
- From Monday 13 December, office workers who can work from home should do so
- From 6am on Wednesday 15 December, certain businesses and events will be required by law to check the COVID status of workers and customers using the NHS COVID Pass
NHS Covid Pass Guidance Updated
The Covid Pass guidance has been updated to say that, from 9 December, if you live in England and have had one or more of your COVID-19 vaccinations administered overseas, you can have your vaccination details added to your NHS Record. You can then generate an NHS COVID Pass for domestic use and international travel if you meet certain certification requirements. This can be done if you’ve had one or more of the following vaccines:
To do this, people must book an appointment to register their overseas vaccinations which can be done through a link in the guidance.
Guidance For Transport Operators Updated
The guidance for transport operators has been updated with more details as to the requirement for passengers to wear face coverings and the exemption for transport staff
Updated Guidance About Testing Before Events
The primary guidance for the public on the new restrictions has been updated to say that people are strongly advised to take tests as late as possible before attending the event, ideally within 12 hours.
New Guidance On Applying for Event Reinsurance
A new guidance document has been published on how businesses can apply for the Event Reinsurance Scheme. The guidance states that:
Anyone wishing to purchase cover can apply to the Scheme by approaching their usual broker who will guide them through the application process. Applicants that do not have a broker can contact BIBA (British Insurance Brokers Association) at [email protected] or LIIBA (London & International Insurance Brokers Association) at [email protected] who will offer support in finding a suitable broker. BIBA also has a list of recommended brokers on their website.
For any further questions, please contact the scheme administrator at [email protected]
The Government has published the first of the updated guidance related to the move to Plan B:
Wearing Face Coverings
From Friday 10 December the public, and staff in public facing areas, are required to wear face coverings in these additional settings:
- community centres (including village halls), youth centres, members clubs and social clubs
- libraries and public reading rooms
- polling stations and premises used for the counting of votes
- places of worship
- crematoria and burial ground chapels
- visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, indoor theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, indoor areas at aquariums, zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, snooker and pool halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, indoor theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
- public areas in hotels and hostels
- indoor areas of sports stadiums
Public Guidance Updated
The main public guidance has also been updated in line with yesterday’s announcement. This guidance also contains a list of premises where people are exempt from wearing facemasks, which are:
- Restaurants, cafés and canteens
- Bars and shisha bars
- Gyms & exercise facilities
- Photography studios
- Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques
It also contains a list of the places where having a NHS Covid Pass will be a condition of entry. These are:
- nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
- other late night dance venues. These are any other venues that are:
- open between 1am and 5am
- serve alcohol during this time
- have a dancefloor (or designated space for dancing)
- provide music, whether live or recorded, for dancing.
- indoor events with 500 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions
- outdoor events with 4,000 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals
- any events with 10,000 or more attendees indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events
Here is a link to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a move to Plan B. The main points are:
- From Monday, the Government will reintroduce the guidance to work from home. Employers should use the rest of this week to discuss working arrangements with their employees
- From this Friday, Government will further extend the legal requirement to wear a face mask to most public indoor venues, including theatres and cinemas.
- There will be exemptions where it is not practical, such as when eating, drinking, exercising or singing.
- NHS Covid Pass will be mandatory for entry into nightclubs, and venues where large crowds gather including
- unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people,
- unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people
- and any venue with more than 10,000 people.
- NHS Covid Pass can still be obtained with two doses but we will keep this under review as the boosters roll out.
- Daily tests will be introduced for people who have had contacts instead of isolation
There will be further guidance to follow over the next few days to provide details on these measures, please check back here for updates.
Testing Prior To Travel
From 4am tomorrow morning, all people aged 12 years and over must take a PCR or LFD COVID-19 test before they travel to England from abroad. This test must be taken within 2 days of travel and applies regardless whether the person is fully vaccinated or not.
Red List Countries Expanded
Also announced over the weekend was that Nigeria has been added to the Red List. This can into effect at 4am this morning
Updated Covid Pass Guidance
DoHSC has updated the guidance on Covid Passes in regard to downloading and storing the information when travelling. The new guidance is:
If you’ve received a booster vaccination it will show in your NHS COVID Pass within 5 days. You’ll see a 2D barcode for your full course of vaccinations plus your booster vaccination.
Your vaccinations will show in reverse order, with the most recent first. This is also the case if you download a PDF of your NHS COVID Pass for travel, or store it within the Apple Wallet or Google Pay Wallet.
If you’re about to travel, you should download an updated PDF version of your NHS COVID Pass, or store an updated version in your Apple Wallet or Google Pay Wallet.
You’ll also see your detailed booster vaccination information in the ‘View COVID-19 records’ section of the NHS COVID Pass within the NHS App and online service.
Some countries now require travellers to demonstrate that they have received 2 doses of a COVID-19 approved vaccination within 180 days, or a booster dose no less than 14 days before entering the country.
From 6 December, if you get your NHS COVID Pass through the NHS App or by using the Google Chrome web browser on an Android phone, you’ll be able to store your NHS COVID Pass to your device.
You’ll see the ‘Google – save to phone’ button within the NHS App. You can then show your NHS COVID status at events and venues in England and for international travel.
The NHS COVID Pass will be saved on your Android phone home screen and also accessible in Google Pay. It is available to Play Protect certified mobile devices running Android 5 or above.
Updated Primary Guidance for Restaurants, Pubs Bars, Nightclubs And Takeaway Services
The primary guidance for these businesses has been updated to state that:
- Contacts of individuals with a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant must self-isolate, regardless of their age or vaccination status.
- Staff and customers must wear a face covering in takeaways where there is no space for consumption of food or drink on the premises
Test And Trace Guidance Updated
The Test and Trace guidance has now been updated to reflect a change in legislation – contacts must stay at home and self-isolate even if they are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months.
The guidance for businesses on what to do if an employee is required to self-isolate has similarly been updated
Test And Trace Support Payments
To align with the removal of the exemption from self-isolation for people who have come into contact with someone with the Omicron variant, the guidance on the £500 Test and Trace Support Payments has been amended to remove the exemption from eligibility for people who have been fully vaccinated.
Face Covering Poster
If you operate premises where people are required to wear a Face Covering, you can download a poster to remind customers on the following link
Resources Related To Getting A Covid Booster
The is also a range of resource material available for businesses that want to encourage their employees to get their booster shot.
Quarantine Hardship Grant Eligibility Extended
The guidance for people on eligibility for a hardship grant if they are arriving from a Red List Country and need to stay in a paid quarantine hotel has been updated. The eligibility criteria have been extended to include:
- People who travelled to a country abroad before it was added to the red list and now need to return to the UK
CJRS Guidance Updated
There has been an updated the CJRS guidance on what employers should do if they have underpaid employees through the scheme. There are two options, either top up the employees’ wages or pay the money back to HMRC. Topping up your employees’ wages must be done within a ‘reasonable period’. This period is usually no later than:
- 31 January 2022 for payments received in the 2020 to 2021 tax year, for customers who file an Income Tax Self-Assessment return
- 31 January 2023 for payments received in the 2021 to 2022 tax year, for customers who file an Income Tax Self-Assessment return
- 12 months after the end of the relevant accounting period if you file a Company Tax return
Various Primary Guidance Documents Updated
Primary guidance documents for various parts of the industry have been updated to incorporate recent restrictions. They include:
Events and Attractions
Outdoor Public Settings
Updated Guidance for Student Entering the Country
The Home Office has updated the guidance pertaining to students entering the UK including
- Student sponsors
- Students and Child Students (including Tier 4)
- Short-term Student (English Language) migrants (including Short-term Students)
The updates are to incorporate the removal of various Covid-related exemptions that came into effect on 27 September and to state that:
- Students who are unable to complete their course of study during their current period of permission due to Covid-19 can no longer apply in-country to complete that course. This includes students who need further time to complete an assessment or sit examinations. Students who otherwise need more time to complete a course as a result of Covid-19, or need to make a new application, will no longer be exempt from demonstrating academic progression.
Updated Transport Guidance
DfT have updated the transport operator and transport customer guidance to incorporate the new requirement for the public to wear face coverings when travelling inside a public transport vehicle and when in indoor transport hubs in England, unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.
DfT’s weekly transport use survey is out and provides some initial indications on how the announcement of the new Omicron variant has impacted people’s behaviour. While National Rail usage has dropped by 10% - there was no real change in bus usage over the last week.