• COVID -19 - Advice and Signposting for Tourism Businesses

COVID -19 - Advice and Signposting for Tourism Businesses

In these difficult times, we want to ensure that we continue to highlight our beautiful coast, towns, countryside and the tourism businesses within them but we know you need help right now.

Below you will find information on the following

  1. How Visit East of England are representing the region's tourism industry - Friday 27 March 2020
  2. Do you have accommodation available to help vulnerable people including NHS and Care Staff - Friday 27 March 2020
  3. Travel, leisure and hospitality weekly report - tracking consumer sentiment on the impact of Covid-19
  4. Further guidelines regarding the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - 27 March 2020
  5. JD Wetherspoon draws up proposed own rules for government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Wednesday 25 March 2020
  6. Visit East of England letter to MPs - Help us now - so we can secure the recovery - Thursday 26 March 2020
  7. Make sure your premises are secure! - Thursday 26 March 2020
  8. Arts Council makes £20 million available - Thursday 26 March 2020
  9. Request from Local Government Association - accommodation for homeless people
  10. How some of our accommodation businesses are handling holiday cancellations - Wed 25 March 2020
  11. VisitBritain/VisitEngland Update - Weds 25 &Tuesday 24 March 2020
  12. Association of Leading Visitor Attractions press release - Weds 25 March 2020
  13. How DMO's around the world are reacting to Covid-19
  14. Financial opportunities and support available
  15. What the Suffolk Coast DMO can offer you right now
  16. Free Support from New Anglia Growth Hub
  17. Historic VisitBritain/VisitEngland updates - up to Monday 23 March 2020
  18. Historic Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group update - up to Thursday 19 March 2020
  19. Historic situation updates - up to Tuesday 24 March 2020
  20. Historic UK Government advice - up to Wednesday 25 March 2020
  21. Historic UK Government briefing - up to Weds 25 March 2020
  22. Other travel measures, advice and updates - Historic up to Weds 25 March 2020

*Please note from Friday 27 March the UK Government updates, Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group and VisitBritain/VisitEngland updates can be found on the Visit East of England website here *

1  How Visit East of England are representing you

VisitBritain/VisitEngland (VB/VE) welcome the collaborative, co-ordinated approach from Visit East of England (VEE) representing the tourism businesses in the region. To date VEE have written two letters to the region's MPs, which have also been sent to DCMS and VB/VE the content of which are very much a result of listening to business concerns. You can read the most recent letter here, we will get the initial letter up asap for you to view.

VEE, Visit Suffolk and Visit Norfolk are in dialogue with all of the regions DMOs and local authorities, as well as representatives on the New Anglia LEP visitor economy sector group. VEE are communicating the daily information from the Tourism Industry Emergency Response group, which includes details of the UK Government's daily briefing summaries, advice and links, VE/VB updates on their blog which you can read here.  Please book mark this page and refer back to it, this is the information that The Suffolk Coast DMO have been providing up to now, however to reduce duplication, we would ask you to use this resource from now on for this information.

Pete Waters, Executive Director of VEE is speaking to DCMS and VisitBritain regularly. They are working hard to ensure Government appreciates the devastating impact this is having on tourism.

VEE welcome any suggestions on what else they should be doing, you can email them here with any concerns that you have info@visiteastofengland.com, you can also sign up for their industry enews here.

2  Do you have accommodation available?

Suffolk Local Authorities urgently need to ensure they have sufficient accommodation available during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Babergh and Mid Suffolk are leading on behalf of all the wider Suffolk Public Sector system to identify the demand, for temporary accommodation solutions. For a wide selection of individuals or groups that may find themselves in need of a place to stay in order to prevent them being homeless, to self-isolate, stay safe (this could include NHS or Care Staff) or recover following recent illness. 

Initially the LAs would like to identify the levels of demand from a number of specific vulnerable groups. Then match this demand with suitable accommodation to meet their needs. If you can help, please complete this form: https://lnkd.in/g8ANadK 

This is a very fast-moving situation and the need to complete this form is urgent and imperative for LAs to understand what you could offer, and how they utilise your willingness and ability to support and assist those in the greatest need. If you have any questions, please email: accommodation@baberghmidsuffolk.gov.uk

3  Travel, leisure and hospitality weekly report - tracking consumer sentiment on the impact of Covid-19

Friday 27 March 2020: BVA BDRC and Alligator Digital, are using the tools of their trade to help their clients and industry stakeholders make sense of the current uncertainty. This is the first in a weekly series of reports which will monitor the mood of UK consumers, the extent to which the worst is still to come or behind us, what is being spoken about online, as well as changes to anticipated buying / booking lead-times as time passes.

4  Further Guidelines Regarding the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The Government has sought to make accessing CBILS as easy as possible and are therefore making further clarification on the subject of personal guarantees. Whether a lender requires a personal guarantee for a loan supported by the CBILS is at the discretion of the lender, who is accredited by the British Business Bank. However, a lender is not allowed to take a personal guarantee against a borrower's principle residence under the scheme. So even if a personal guarantee is required under the lender's credit policy, it cannot be taken against the borrower's home. Some major lenders have announced that they are not going to require personal guarantees on loans under CBILS the scheme (of any size). If businesses are worried about the specific terms of finance facilities available under this scheme, they should speak to their usual lender. More information can be found here.

5  JD Wetherspoon draws up proposed own rules for government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Thursday 25 March 2020

JD Wetherspoon has drawn up proposed rules on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) could work and has submitted these to the government for approval. The company said further to discussions with UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, substantial progress had been made regarding the scheme. It said to assist the government and UKHospitality, Wetherspoon had drawn up its own rules (see below) as to how the scheme would work. Read the full press release here: 

6 Visit East of England letter to MPs - Thursday 26 March 2020

Read Dr Andy Wood's letter to East of England MPs - Help us now – so we can help secure the recovery

'On behalf of the thousands of tourism businesses in the East, we are writing to you again following our correspondence of March 20, to highlight the catastrophic impact Coronavirus is having on the region’s visitor economy and to ask you to pressure the Government to help alleviate what is now an existential crisis for thousands of SMEs.'

7  Make sure your premises are secure

Sadly, we have had it reported that some business premises which have had to close recently have been broken into.  Please make sure that if you have to leave your premises unattended, that you have adequate security measures in place. Ideally, make sure they are visited frequently to ensure the premises are OK.

8  Arts Council makes £20 million available

The Arts Council is making £20 million available to individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers. Click here to see more https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid-19/financial-support-artists-creative-practitioners-and-freelancers  

9  Request from Local Government Association

We have been asked by TIER to pass on a message from the Local Government Association. 

With the closure of accommodation businesses, Councils are having problems placing homeless households into accommodation and finding businesses that will accept bookings from local authority staff. 

They would like to point out that there is an exemption to the closure order for both groups and ask that accommodation businesses contact their local council if they are able to stay open and take bookings. 

They have also asked the Government to consider co-ordinating the procurement of accommodation at a regional or national level.

10  How accommodation businesses are handling holiday cancellations - Weds 25 March 2020

Ways in which some of our accommodation businesses are handling cancellations for holidays due to start during the UK Government's enforced restriction on non-essential travel:

  • Suggesting the customer checks with their travel insurance to see if they are covered for cancellations and offer to supply any information to help in this regard alongside offering the following:
  • Proactively offering the customer the chance to rebook for another time, later in the year.
  • Issuing vouchers to customers for the full price of the holiday with a 2 year expiry date.
  • Many of our DMO members are fully booked for April and have now been paid in full for holidays due to start in the next 6 weeks.  Refunding customers would make them bankrupt, so offering vouchers/rebooking is the only option they have.

11  VisitBritain/VisitEngland Updates

Weds 25 March 2020

Join VisitBritain/VisitEngland’s marketing response 

VisitBritain/VisitEngland has launched a social marketing campaign to keep Britain top of visitors’ minds during international and UK travel bans. The campaign aims to share inspirational content based on popular British culture such as recipes, TV and film shows, literature and more, for people to enjoy in their own homes. Find out how to get involved

COVID-19 tourism industry impact survey 

VisitBritain/VisitEngland has modified and reopened their tracker survey, they will be conducting it regularly to monitor the impact on all aspects of the UK tourism industry.  The results will provide impact data to brief Ministers, the Government and COBR to help support the industry through these challenging times. Please circulate the survey to your members. The survey will close 17.00 Monday 30 March. 

Tuesday 24 March 2020

12  Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA)

Wednesday 25 March 2020

ALVA have issued a positive press release highlighting how ‘The UK’s top visitor attractions may be closed but they’re open online to the world, millions of online visitors are creating their own ‘UK tourism must-visit list’ of places to visit when attractions re-open their doors.’ Follow this link to read more.  

13  How DMOs are reacting to Covid-19

CrowdRiff Blog - one point that has come up a lot in conversations with DMOs large and small is that they’d like to see more examples and ideas of how others are operating during this time. 

In this post, CrowdRiff put together some best practices from the past week. These examples have surfaced internally at CrowdRiff, whether from customers or through their own research into what others are doing. Read the blog here.

14  Financial Opportunities and Support Available

Government Support

To assist business owners the government has announced that it will provide support to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised.

Tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

Visit    www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-helpline-to-support-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19

If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.

HMRC will extend “time to pay” arrangements for companies affected by acts of God such as flooding to Coronavirus. These arrangements are negotiated on an individual basis between SMEs and Treasury, which means debt collection is suspended if they cannot afford to pay their tax bill. And HMRC said that during the Coronavirus pandemic, the usual 3.5 per cent annual interest on deferred tax payments will be scrapped.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Visit www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

Businesses with a turnover of less than £41 million can apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) temporarily replaces the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme and will be provided by the British Business Bank through accredited lenders.

The government will extend the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme from up to £1.2m per business to £5m with no interest payable for six months. This new loan scheme will be up-and-running by the end of next week. “Any business that needs access to cash will be able to get a government-backed credit on attractive terms,” said Sunak. 

Business Interruption Insurance Policies

The Treasury will stand behind those businesses that do have business interruption insurance policies that do include pandemics but will have excluded COVID-19 because it is such a new virus.  However, most small businesses will still not be insured through business interruption policies because most just apply to fire and flood.

Covering Sick Pay

Visit    www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. Coronavirus statutory sick pay is expected to be in the form of a refund. The Treasury says that it is “working with employers over the coming months to set up a repayment mechanism as soon as possible for employers reclaiming statutory sick pay”.

Coronavirus help for self-employed, employers & employees

Visit    www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions

For the self-employed not eligible for SSP, contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by coronavirus or self-isolating in line with advice from day one of sickness, rather than day eight.

For more information about coronavirus government statutory sick pay, go to the Department for Work & Pensions website here.

For further advice regarding sick pay and how best to support your employee’s should they self-isolate, the ACAS website has issued the following information – www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

The Treasury will work with business groups to develop an Employment Support Package that will help to mitigate employment costs for small firms, thereby preventing lay-offs.

Do you get Small Business Rates Relief?

Visit    eastsuffolkmeansbusiness.co.uk/business-support/resources/covid-19/

There is a £10,000 cash grant being made available to 700,000 of the smallest businesses, which will be delivered by Local Authorities, and worth a total of £20 billion. Your local council will have further information on this as the scheme is rolled out, use the link above, bookmark the page and refer back to it for further updates.

East Suffolk Council will contact businesses with more information by mid April regarding the above grant

Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure with a rateable value of between £15,000 to £51,000 will be able to access a bigger grant of £25,000.

East Suffolk Council will contact your business by the end of March 2020 regarding the above grant

The government is also temporarily increasing the business rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value. *Nearly half of all business properties will not pay a penny of business rates. This will be implemented through your local council. If you already receive the current business rates retail discount, you will receive notification of the changes in due course. If you currently don’t receive any relief, you can check with your Local Authority for your eligibility.

*All retail, leisure and hospitality companies will be exempt from business rates for a whole year.

East Suffolk Council will automatically apply this exemption from business rates - no further action is needed by the business.

Advice from Anglia Revenues Partnership as of 18th March 2020

  • If businesses are already in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief ARP will automatically be updating their accounts as soon as they have confirmation from Government and the software suppliers provide them with the facility to do so.  
  • For Pubs already getting pub relief, ARP will automatically be updating their accounts as soon as they have confirmation from Government and the software to amend the accounts.
  •  In relation to the rates holiday encompassing hospitality and leisure ARP will be awaiting guidance from Government as to the definition of properties in these sectors.  They will then identify the businesses in their database and contact them regarding this scheme.
  •  In relation to the Grants – ARP do not have enough information to give clear advice at present.  
  •  Please note that all of these ‘reliefs’ are subject to state aid rules.

Visit     www.angliarevenues.gov.uk/services/businessrates/index.cfm

Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

To support larger firms, the Bank of England has announced a new lending facility to provide a quick and cost effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, enabling them to continue financing their short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. Further details, including on how to access this funding will follow in the coming days, and the scheme will be available from the week commencing 23 March.

Banks and Loans

Banks are also increasing credit lines and overdrafts and, in some cases, they may even offer repayment holidays. Contact your credit suppliers to ask about relaxing payments.

15  What The Suffolk Coast DMO can offer you;

We will use our website and social media channels to promote your businesses to the best of our ability, it is vital that we continue to profile the destination and everything you offer visitors throughout this unprecedented time. 

We want to ensure that all tourism and hospitality businesses on the Suffolk Coast can promote their businesses right now free of charge through our website, content and social media channels.

4 months free membership for existing and new members

For our existing members with a subscription due to automatically renew we will not collect payment. Four months free membership will be automatically added to your subscription.  There is nothing further you need to do. This will be reviewed as the situation develops and we will extend free membership if necessary.

For businesses who have just joined us recently we will give you an additional four months free membership which will be automatically applied to your existing membership period.

For businesses who have yet to join us - we will automatically give you the first four months of membership free of charge. Again, this will be reviewed as the situation develops and we will extend free membership if necessary.

If you are not a member join now - visit www.thesuffolkcoast.co.uk/join-us  

Use our members Facebook Group to stay in touch

We have opened up our Members Facebook Group to ALL TOURISM & HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES on The Suffolk Coast. We will use the group to keep you up to date with news and developments that affect the tourism industry, but it's also a great place for businesses to share experiences, advice and support.

Please join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheSuffolkCoastMembers/ - you will be asked to state your business, this is to ensure that only tourism / retail / hospitality businesses join.

Please tell us what this is doing to you and your business

Through our close relationship with the National Coastal Tourism Academy we want to make sure your voices are heard - please tell us what your current situation is.  We need to feedback real examples of what you are facing to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and VisitBritain so that there is commitment to a significant recovery plan.

Do you face your business going under in the near future? If so, how long before this happens?  Are you able to close your business for a period of time and then reopen? What measures are you having to take with your staff? What messages do you want us to pass on? Email annie@thesuffolkcoast.co.uk and we will make sure you are heard.

Marketing The Suffolk Coast

Over the next few weeks, we will be working to showcase the region and all that we have to offer, so that when people are able to start looking to travel and book holidays, we are at the forefront of their minds. One thing’s for sure, if people are isolated, they head online.

Recently, there has been an emerging holiday market; ‘slow holidays’ – where travellers stay in one place for a longer period of time. Yesterday the Tourism Management Institute issued a blog (full article is available to read here) highlighting the opportunities that we hope will come out of this very difficult time, saying:

“Some more positive impacts might come from a change in travelling behaviour amongst a certain percentage of travellers, including: a growth in domestic travel – ‘staycations’; more time spent in one place – ‘slower’ travel; greater respect for places as a result of ‘slower’ travel, whereby people behave more as ‘travellers’ than ‘tourists’; more family travel; reduced environmental impact, as people reduce their travel frequency and stay longer in one place, with a potential reduction in travel to overcrowded tourism hotspots.”

As your DMO, we will ensure that we are ready to respond to any such opportunities, and will be putting together a campaign that will maximise exposure for all.

16  Free support from New Anglia Growth Hub

New Anglia Growth Hub is Government funded and ready to offer free advice to all businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk.

If you feel your business has been affected by Coronavirus, whether you are experiencing supply chain issues, order or booking cancellations, a reduction in sales, or any other challenge, contact the Growth Hub to speak to one of our qualified business advisers. They offer free support and advice and can help you to access the support measures put in place by Government.

Email growthhub@newanglia.co.uk or telephone 0300 333 6536 (Mon- Fri 9am-5pm).

17  Historic VisitBritain/VisitEngland briefings

Monday 23 March 2020

COVID-19 tourism industry impact survey 

VisitBritain/VisitEngland has modified and reopened their tracker survey, they will be conducting it regularly to monitor the impact on all aspects of the UK tourism industry.  The results will provide impact data to brief Ministers, the Government and COBR to help support the industry through these challenging times. The survey will close 17.00 Monday 30 March. You can complete the survey here; Covid-19 Tourism Industry Impact Survey

VisitEngland has launched a page on their Business Advice Hub offering advice for tourism and event businesses affected by COVID-19. 

Wednesday 18th March 2020

VisitBritain are continuing to chase the UK Government advice for tourism businesses and will share as soon as it is available.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland is refocusing their marketing activity in the light of COVID-19. On their social media channels they will be sharing content focused on five themes linked to popular British culture designed to help consumers beat the boredom and frustration (including quizzes and trivia), destinations and businesses are invited to join the conversation on social media. Find out more on the VB website.

18  Historic Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group Updates (TIER)

Thursday 19th March 2020

The Minister for Tourism was present at the TIER Group meeting held today and keen to understand the impacts on the sector following the Chancellor’s announcement earlier this week, as well as to understand what the Government could do to provide further support.

There were three key themes that were identified as crucial for the next stage:

  • A clear and inclusive definition of the business types that make up the tourism industry so that Government reliefs/schemes are available to all constituents of the sector
  • Increased measures to alleviate as much of the cost burden to businesses as possible, including support for wage costs
  • An ask for greater clarity on the details of the support for businesses and when it will be available in future announcements.

Tuesday 17th March 2020

A meeting of the Tourism Industry Council was held on 17th March 2020 led by the Secretary of State and attended by a number of industry reps (including ALVA, UKinbound. UK Hospitality, ABTA, Hilton Hotels).

  • Key asks of Government raised at the TIER meeting reiterated points calling for urgent/immediate action as follows:
  • Long-term relief on business rates, PAYE, VAT
  • Salary and redundancy support
  • Measures from banks
  • Urgent access to funds
  • Budget measures for SMEs to be extended to medium and large businesses
  • Support for landlords to look at sensibly phased payment schedules
  • Mandatory closure to help with insurance for some parts of the sector (e.g. theatres and attractions)
  • Tourism business advice and clarity on definitions

The Secretary of State confirmed that these will be fed into the Chancellor. 

19  Historic Situation updates: correct as of 17.00 26 March 2020

Thursday 26 March 2020

  • As of 26 March, 1,809 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 9,782. The total for the UK now stands at 11,658, which includes 894 in Scotland, 741 cases in Wales and 241 in Northern Ireland. A total of 104,866 people have been tested across the UK.
  • To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
  • As of 26 March globally there has been 455,085 cases including: China 81,285, Italy 74,386, Republic of Korea 9,241, Iran 27,017, France 24,920, Germany 36,508, Spain 47,610 Japan 1,193, USA 54,367 UK 11,658, Switzerland 9,765, Netherlands 6,412, with 20,798 fatalities globally 
  • The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases.

24 March 2020

23 March 2020

  • As of 09:00 23 March 2020, a total of 83,945 people have been tested. As of 09:00 23 March 2020, 6,650 confirmed as positive, there have been 335 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in the UK.
  • As of 23 March, The total number of lab confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK is 6,650 which includes 5,585 cases in England, 499 in Scotland, 418 in Wales, and 148 in Northern Ireland
  • To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
  • As of 23 March globally there has been 315,412 cases including: China 81,093, Italy 59,138, Republic of Korea 8,961, Iran 21,638, France 15,810, Germany 22,672, Spain 28,572 Japan 1,046, USA 15,268 UK 6,650, Switzerland 7,014, Netherlands 4,204, with 14,018 fatalities globally and total of 10,748 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China.
  • The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases.

19 March 2020

  • As of 19 March, 574 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 2,756. The total for the UK now stands at 3,229, which includes 226 in Scotland, 170 cases in Wales, and 77 in Northern Ireland. there have been 144 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in the UK.
  • To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard
  • As of 19 March globally there has been 211,781 cases, China 80,928, Italy 35,713, Republic of Korea 8,565, Iran 17,361, France 9,043, Germany 8,198, Spain 13,716, Japan 914, USA 7,087, UK 3,229, Switzerland 2,650, Netherlands 2,051, with 8,879 fatalities
  • A total of 5,594 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, in 60 countries. 
  • The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the number of global cases
  • The National Health commission of the People’s republic of China has reported that no new cases were confirmed in Wuhan on 18 March 

18 March 2020

20  Historic Government advice and links

Thursday 26 March 2020

Wednesday 25 March 2020

- As part of the agreed measures, companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete. 

Tuesday 24 March 2020

  1. Guidance on the closure of all non-essential businesses and premises as part of further social distancing measures. This directive applies to any business providing holiday accommodation including short-term lets such as hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, boarding houses and caravan sites. 
  2. The Government has issued guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK. An exception has been made for key workers, who can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required, and for people living in these premises as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable. Where people live permanently in caravan parks, or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may also continue to do so.
  3. Restaurants and catering outlets providing takeaway or delivery services can remain open. 
  4. Where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open. 
  5. The COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility is now open. Information for businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has also been added.
  6. Updates to the Guidance for UK businesses trading internationally, including a business support helpline.
  7. Updated guidance has been released which sets out details of eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).
  8. Extra protection has been announced for commercial tenants to protect them from eviction if they are unable to pay rent because of coronavirus.
  9. New guidance on staying at home and away from others has been released – the guidance covers staying at home, closing non-essential shops and public spaces, stopping public gatherings and delivering these new measures. 

Monday 23 March 2020

Healthcare: chaired by the Health Secretary to focus on the preparedness of the NHS, notably ensuring capacity in the critical care system for those worst affected, the medical and social package of support for those to whom we will be providing the new shielding regime.

General Public Sector: chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to look at preparedness across the rest of the public and critical national infrastructure, excluding the NHS

Economic and Business: chaired by the Chancellor, with the Business Secretary as deputy chair, to consider economic and business impact and response, including supply chain resilience. It will also coordinate roundtables with key sectors to be chaired by relevant Secretaries of State

International: chaired by the Foreign Secretary, to consider our international response to the crisis through the G7, G20 and other mechanisms, including like-minded groups, and the UK five-point plan

Tourism is represented on Economic and Business sub-committee by the Culture Secretary with the Tourism Industry Council being the roundtable for the Sector that feeds-in. Click here for further information on new government structures to coordinate responses.

Friday 20th March 2020

21  Historic UK Government daily briefing summary

Thursday 26 March 2020

The Chancellor announced details of financial support for the self employed:

  • The self-employed will receive a direct cash grant of 80% of their average profits, up to £2,500 per month
  • The scheme is open to anyone with average profits of £50,000 or less.
  • The scheme will operate for three months initially but could be extended
  • The system will take time to establish and grants won’t be available until June – at which time those eligible will receive a payment for the whole three month period. So in effect, this will be a one-off grant to the self-employed
  • HMRC will use the average trading profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to determine the size of the grant. For those without 3 years of returns, the Treasury will look at what they do have but there will be nothing for the newly self-employed without any filed accounts.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

In today’s Government update the Prime Minister did not announce any further measures, instead giving a short update followed by Q&A.

  • The Prime Minister reiterated the need to delay the spread of the disease in order to limit pressure on the NHS.
  • He thanked the NHS, and those that have been following the guidelines.
  • He provided an update on the NHS Volunteer Appeal, 405,000 have responded so far. These people will be transporting medicine, transporting patients from hospital, and making calls to check on vulnerable people at home.
  • The PM confirmed that the Chancellor will be making announcements on Self-Employed measures tomorrow.
  • Questioned on testing, Chris Whitty confirmed that the anti-gen test system is working well in hospitals. Testing NHS and Critical Workers who are self-isolating is the next priority, although there is a global demand for these tests and therefore a shortage. After that the next stage would be testing people more widely with mild symptoms. Finally, the anti-body test is being evaluated this week but is not quite available yet.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave the daily briefing from the Government along with Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries. It follows a further 87 UK COVID-19 deaths bringing the total up to 422. it was a virtual press conference with journalists asking questions by video conference. Below are some of the key takeaways:

  • He re-iterated that the social distancing measures are a directive and not a request.
  • Today the Government is launching NHS volunteers – a call for 250,000 thousand volunteers for shopping and delivery of medicines for at risk individuals.
  • Almost 12,000 former NHS doctors and nurses have returned.
  • 5,500 final year medical doctor students and 18,700 final year student nurses are being mobilised.
  • In total this means over 35,000 additional staff are available to the NHS.
  • Next week new temporary hospital is being create. HHS Nightingale at the Excel Centre will have two wards of 2,000 people.

Thursday 19th March 2020

  • The Government held the fourth of its new daily briefings on the UK approach to tackling COVID 19. The Prime Minister, CMO and CSA gave today’s brief. The Prime Minister wanted to give an idea of timescales.
  • The Prime Minister believes that COVID19 can be brought under control in the next 12 weeks.
  • They are in the process of buying an antibody test for COVD 19 that will give an idea of who has had the disease and is therefore resistant to it in the future. It will help improve the management of the disease.
  • Reiterated the need to follow the PHE advice on social distancing. 
  • We will hear more in the next day or so about further support for business and the PM asked businesses to standby their employees as the Government would standby businesses.
  • Laura Kuanssberg asked if the government would ban pubs opening. The PM said that they would only introduce further measures if the current approach doesn’t work. He believes the current approach is working.
  • The Prime Minister said that further “lockdown” measures of London was not imminent.
  • Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance says Public Health England is ramping up to 25,000 tests per day for COVID19.
  • The Chancellor will make an announce tomorrow regarding financial support for workers and businesses.

Wednesday 18th March 2020

The Government held the third of its new daily briefings on the UK approach to tackling COVID 19. On a Tourism front there was little to update on, as today’s announcement focused on the Government’s decision to close schools from Friday. Children of ‘key workers’ will be allowed to go to schools. A full read out will be available here shortly

Many of the wider announcements from today will be part of the Coronavirus Bill (which will be pushed through the house this week). This guidance outlines the powers the government will receive.

22  Historic other travel measures, advice and updates:

Thursday 26 March 2020

25 March 2020

MOT update:  The UK Government has announced that vehicle owners will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, enabling them to continue to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities. All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require a MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March 2020. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.

Transport for London (TfL)TfL announced today that it is taking targeted measures to control the flow of passengers at the stations that remain the busiest. This includes reducing the flow at the gate lines with the support of the 500 British Transport Police who are now deployed across the rail network, opening different routes to platforms and turning off down escalators to slow the flow of people to platforms.

Monday 23 March 2020

  • easyjet: has announced that it is grounding the majority of its aircraft from Tuesday 24 March, following the number of government restrictions and travel advice across its network. The airline will run rescue flights to repatriate passengers where it can.
  • UK Hospitality: Has updated its interim guidance for accommodation providers, recommending that that no new leisure guests be accepted and that existing guests should consider whether they need to vacate if they can. 
  • The German Foreign Office has extended the warning against all global travel until at least the end of April
  • In Italy, the Government has extended the lockdown until15 April. 
  • The Spanish Government has announced the State of Emergency will be extended until 11 April
  • Effective as of 23 March, Spain has closed its EU borders

Thursday 19th March 2020

From 24:00 hrs Wed 18 March until 24:00 hrs Tue 24 March, Ryanair Group Airlines will cut flight schedules by over 80%. All affected customers will receive an email to advise them of their options and customers are asked not to call them as its call centres are overloaded dealing with customer queries.

From 24:00 hrs Tue 24 Mar it expects that most if not all Ryanair Group flights will be grounded, except for a very small number of flights to maintain essential connectivity, mostly between the UK and Ireland. Details of the severely reduced schedule can be found on the Travel Advisory page on the Ryanair.com website, which will be updated regularly.

  • DFDS is suspending its Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry service this weekend until at least April 13. The last sailing from Amsterdam will be on March 21 and the last from Newcastle on March 22. 
  • Brittany Ferries is implementing further schedule changes in light of recent announcements to protect both passengers and crew. These are detailed on its Sailing updates. Its Contact Centre is also experiencing exceptionally high call volumes so it is recommended to only call if customers are booked to sail within the next 72 hours. 
  • Some train operators will be running reduced timetables across several routes due to COVID-19 Please check with individual train operators: Northern & TransPennine Express

Wednesday 18th March 2020