Latest Government Updates
Tuesday 21st December
Financial Support for Hospitality Businesses Announced
Following the adoption of ‘Plan B’ in England to slow the spread of the Covid Omicron variant and the subsequent impact on leisure and hospitality business of people staying at home, the Chancellor has today announced new financial support for businesses. Focussed primarily on pubs and restaurants, businesses will be eligible for grants of up to £6,000, administed by local authorities. Others will be able to reclaim sick pay for staff forced to isolate because of the virus.
The Government announcement, including support for the devolved nations, is here.
Monday 19th July
Covid Restrictions Relaxed in England
All remaining Covid restrictions in England have today been removed, meaning that there is no longer a legal requirement for people to wear face coverings, observe social distancing or limit the size of gatherings, inside or out. However, the public is being encouraged to continue to observe the recommended actions to limit the spread of the virus. The BBC has a helpful summary of the changes in England, and of changes also being made in Scotland, here. VisitBritain also provide a summary of the day’s changes here.
Monday 10th May
May Reopening for England Hospitality Confirmed
The Prime Minister has confirmed today that the anticipated easing of lockdown restrictions in England will go ahead as planned on Monday 17th May. The measures will allow accommodation businesses that are not self-contained and that currently remain closed to reopen next week, for groups of up to 6 people or 2 households. Pubs and restaurants will also be able to serve customers inside and indoor entertainment venues such as museums and cinemas will be able to open.
The BBC has a useful summary of the changes here.
Friday 23rd April
Welsh Accommodation to Reopen on 17th May
Wales’s First Minister has announced that accommodation businesses in Wales are expected to be able to reopen to guests on 17th May, earlier than anticipated and in line with accommodation providers in England. The date will be confirmed after the next three-weekly government review on 13th May.
Read the Welsh Government statement here.
Tuesday 13th April
Scottish Island Restrictions to Align With Mainland From 26th April
The Scottish government has today announced that Covid travel restrictions in place on the Scottish islands will be brought into line with those across the rest of the country so that travel, and parts of the island economy, can operate more normally from 26 April.
It is intended that the whole of Scotland will then be in Level 3 from that date so that non-essential travel between Scotland, England and Wales will be permitted, and tourist accommodation in Scotland can reopen (subject to social distancing restrictions).
Read the announcement here.
Friday 9th April
Self Contained Accommodation in England Set to Reopen
From Monday 12th April, overnight stays in self-contained holiday accommodation in England are once again permitted, for one household. Hotels and B&Bs must remain closed until May 17th
In Wales, travel into and out of the country from the rest of the UK will be allowed. It has also been announced that two households will be able to meet indoors a week earlier than previously planned, along with gyms, leisure centres and outdoor organised activities, from 7th May.
In Scotland, hospitality businesses cannot open until 26th April, when travel within Scotland will again be allowed.
There is a useful update here
Wednesday 17th March
Summary of Re-Opening Timetables and Guidance
With so many changes happening as coronavirus restrictions are eased, here are the official links to the proposed dates and latest advice affecting tourism and hospitality businesses across the UK:
Additionally, information for the Republic of Ireland can be found here
Tuesday 16th March
Scottish Government Publishes Timetable for Easing Lockdown
The Scottish government has provided further details and timescales for the easing of lockdown. Travel within mainland Scotland will be permitted and tourist accommodation will be allowed to open, with restrictions on household mixing, from 26th April.
Full details can be found here.
Friday 12th March
Wales’s First Minister Sets Out Steps to Relax Restrictions
Details of the Welsh government’s timetable for the easing of lockdown have been published, with the requirement to stay local being lifted and self-contained holiday accommodation re-opening (for one household) from 27th March.
More information can be found here.
Wednesday 3rd March
VAT Cut, Business Rates Holiday and Furlough Scheme Extended in Budget Announcement
Among other measures, today’s budget announcement confirmed:
- The reduced 5% VAT level for the hospitality and tourism sector will be extended for six months until 30 September, then rise to 12.5%. The rate will not return to the previous standard 20% until April 2022.
- The business rates holiday for firms in England will continue until June, from when it will continue to be discounted by 75%.
- The furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September, with the Government to continue paying 80% of employees’ wages for hours they cannot work. Employers will be asked to contribute 10% in July and 20% in August and September.
Read the summary here.
Tuesday 2nd March
Northern Ireland Pathway Out of Restrictions Published
The steps that the Northern Ireland Executive are expecting to take to east lockdown restrictions have been set out in a pathway document. Nine pathways have been developed, each of which has five phases, for different sectors including travel and tourism:
The plan can be found here.
Tuesday 2nd March
Chancellor to Announce Restart Grants Worth up to £18k
As part of the Budget announcements, the Chancellor is expected to confirm plans for grants of up to £18,000 for shops, pubs, hotels and other businesses most affected by the coronavirus crisis. The grant will be available to nearly 700,000 retail and hospitality businesses and will be distributed by local authorities from April.
The level of the grant will be determined by rateable value:
- £8,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
- £12,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 to £51,000
- £18,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
Read more here.
Wednesday 24th February
Scotland Strategic Framework Roadmap Revealed
The Scottish Government has published details of its Strategic Framework detailing its planned steps to ease lockdown, including the re-introduction of tiered restrictions from the end of April. Further details are expected at the beginning of March.
The Strategic Framework can be found here.
Monday 22nd February
Self-Contained Accommodation to Reopen from 12th April; Hotels and B&Bs from 17th May
Under the Government’s planned roadmap out of lockdown for England announced today, self-contained accommodation such as vacation rentals are expected to be able to reopen under Step 2 from the 12th April, on condition that they ‘do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities’. Accommodation can only be used by members of the same household.
From 17th May at the earliest, under Step 3, all other accommodation will be allowed to reopen including hotels and B&Bs.
All stages of the roadmap are conditional on meeting four tests regarding vaccine rollout, vaccine effectiveness, infection rates and new variants.
Tuesday 17th February
Scottish Business Rate Relief Extended Until April 2022
Hospitality and leisure businesses are among those in Scotland who will benefit from not having to pay business rates during the 2021-22 financial year as part of an announcement by the Scottish government.
For more information see here.
Tuesday 9th February
VisitEngland ‘We’re Good to Go’ Scheme Extended
VisitEngland’s popular scheme to reassure guests that tourism businesses have carried out a risk assessment and are following Government and public health COVID guidance is to be extended. Launched in June 2020, over 43,000 businesses have signed up to display the ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark.
Sign up to the free scheme here.
Monday 8th February
Six Month Extension to Beginning of Bounce Back Loan Repayments
The Chancellor has announced that businesses taking advantage of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme can delay the beginning of repayments for six months, meaning businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out.
Borrowers can also extend the length of their loans from six to ten years (reducing monthly repayments by almost half) and choose to make interest-only payments for six months.
Details of the Pay as You Grow support can be found here.
Thursday 4th February
Additional £7.4m Financial Support Announced for Northern Ireland Hospitality Support Scheme
Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister has announced a further £7.4m injection into the Large Tourism and Hospitality Business Support Scheme. The scheme is open to tourism businesses that have a total Net Annual Value of £51,001 and impacted by coronavirus restrictions.
More details can be found here.
Friday 22nd January
More Information on Closed Business Lockdown Payment (CBLP) and Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) Published
Details of the additional support under the CBLP and LRSG for businesses paying business rates have been published. Details of the CBLP, for business required to close as a result of national restrictions on the 5th January, can be found here. Information about the LRSG, to help businesses that were open but then required to close from 5th November to 2nd December, and again from 5th January, can be found here.
Friday 15th January
Court Decides Insurers Must Pay Out on Business Interruption Insurance Policies
The Supreme Court has ruled that small firms should receive payments from insurance companies for business interruption policies. Thousands of businesses are set to receive payouts to cover losses incurred as a result of the first national lockdown, following a test case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority.
For more information click here.
Tuesday 5th January
Grants Worth up to £9k Announced for Hospitality Businesses
A new £4.6bn fund to support businesses impacted by the latest lockdown has been announced by the Government. Grants worth up to £9,000 will be available to businesses in the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors, with the level of support determined by rateable value:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
Grants are to be administered by local authorities. The fund includes £594m for them to support other businesses not covered by the new grants, and for the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You can read the Government announcement here.
Monday 4th January
New Lockdown Measures for England and Scotland Imposed
The Prime Minister has announced a new England-wide lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus. From 20:00 on Monday 4th January people are required to stay at home, with schools and all non-essential shops closed. Domestic and international travel is allowed only for legally permitted reasons; holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. Restrictions are expected to remain in place until at least mid-February.
Full details of the travel restrictions applicable to England can be found on the GOV.UK website here.
Guest accommodation providers such as B&Bs, guest houses, holiday cottages and apartments can remain open only for limited and specific reasons. These can be found under the Accommodation section here.
A similar stay at home order has been announced for mainland Scotland, to apply until at least the end of January. The rules make it non-essential journeys between Scotland and other parts of the UK illegal. The official guidance for Scotland can be found here.
Wales moved into a renewed lockdown on 20th December with the introduction of new four level system of restrictions requiring people to stay at home, and schools have been closed until at least 18th January. Details of the Wales restrictions can be viewed here.
In Northern Ireland, a new six-week lockdown came into force on 26 December. Full details of the restrictions can be found on the official nidirect website here.
Saturday 19th December
New Higher Tier Introduced in England
A new higher level of COVID restrictions is to be introduced in England from 00:01 on Sunday 20th December. The advice on people getting together over the Christmas period has also changed, with the Government allowing Christmas bubble arrangements in England to be in place only on Christmas Day.
More information on the tier 4 restrictions, and the limited circumstances under which hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation can remain open can be found here.
The amended rules around Christmas bubbles, travel and overnight stays can be found here.
Thursday 17th December
Furlough Scheme Extended to April
The Chancellor has announced a further extension of the Job Retention Scheme until the end of April, allowing businesses impacted by coronovirus closures to furlough staff for a further month. The Government will continue to pay up to 80% of the salary of UK employees for hours not worked, up to a limit of £2,500 a month.
Read the announcement here.
Tiers for England Reviewed and Tightened
Stricter COVID restrictions for many parts of England are to come into force from 00:01 on Saturday 19th December, including in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, parts of Hertfordshire and most of Surrey. The tightening follows the move of London and parts of Hertfordshire and Essex into the top tier on Weds 16th December.
There is a useful summary of the changes and the forthcoming changes affecting Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the BBC website here.
Wednesday 9th December
Scottish Government Announces Additional £185m for Businesses
A further £185m package of financial support for businesses impacted by coronavirus has been announced by the Scottish Government. The funding will target tourism, hospitality, events, live music and cultural venues, the arts, and the food and drink sector. Applications for grants will open in January, when an additional one-off payment of £2,000 or £3,000 for hospitality businesses is also to be made.
You can see the press release here.
Thursday 3rd December
Revised Travel Restrictions & Financial Support for Wales Hospitality Businesses
New rules to come into force on Friday 4th December will allow some travel between England and Wales and means that visitors from the Tier 1 and 2 areas of England are again able to take holidays in Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government, however, continues to advise against all unnecessary travel, and has announced a further package of measures worth £240m to support hospitality businesses affected by ongoing restrictions. See the statement regarding financial support here.
Thursday 26th November
New Tiers for England Announced
The list of which counties and local authority areas in England will be subject to which level of coronavirus restrictions from 2nd December has been published. Only Cornwall, Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight will be under tier 1. Tier 3 restrictions, under which accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, and guest houses must close, apply in large parts of the North East, North West, Yorkshire, East and West Midlands.
A full list of areas and their corresponding tier can be found here. The tiers for each area will be reviewed on 16th December.
The restrictions applicable at each level have changed from those in place before the second lockdown. Updated guidance can be found here.
Tuesday 24th November
Christmas Bubble Arrangements Agreed
UK-wide arrangements to allow families and individuals to form Christmas bubbles has been agreed by the Government. The rules to allow limited household mixing will apply from 23rd-27th December. People can form a bubble of up to 3 households who can meet in private homes and gardens, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces, but not in any other indoor setting, such as a hotel, pub, shop, theatre, or restaurant.
Individuals can stay in a hotel, B&B or private rented accommodation in line with the rules in their tier, in order to be near their Christmas bubble and can check-in on 22nd December and check-out on 28th December. People should not gather as a Christmas bubble in a hotel or B&B unless a member of their bubble lives there permanently. People can stay in a private holiday let with members of their household or Christmas bubble.
Northern Ireland Support Package Extended
The Northern Ireland Executive has announced a package of support measures for businesses impacted by the ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown coming into force on 27th November, which will see the closure of non-essential shops and businesses. The support will include £5m to top up the tourism and hospitality grants scheme and £4.1m for B&Bs previously ineligible for financial assistance.
Monday 23rd November
Post-Lockdown Rules for England Announced
England will return to coronavirus restrictions based around the previous 3-tier system when lockdown is eased on December 2nd. The decision as to which tier each local authority area is to fall under is to be taken on 25th November. In all tiers, non-essential shops are to be allowed to open. Hotels and other accommodation providers can open under tier 1 and 2 but must close under tier 3, although there are exemptions, such as where a stay is “reasonably necessary for work or education and training.”
More information about the updated tier rules can be found here.
Full details of the Government’s Winter Plan, including information on support for businesses, can be found here.
Friday 20th November
Ireland COVID Restrictions Support Scheme Details Published
A document has been issued by the Irish Revenue Office detailing the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS). Under the scheme, businesses forced to close due to COVID restrictions can claim back 10% of their average weekly turnover up to a maximum of €20,000.
Details of how to claim can be found on the Revenue.ie website here.
Monday 9th November
Wales Firebreak Lockdown Ends
The 17-day firebreak lockdown in Wales is replaced with looser restrictions across the country from Monday 9th November. Hotels, pubs and restaurants are allowed to re-open. Restrictions on domestic travel are removed and residents can travel anywhere within Wales but international travel remains restricted. More here.
Thursday 5th November
Furlough Scheme Extended to March 31st & Self-Employed Income Support Grant Increased to 80%
Chancellor Sunak announces an extension of the Furlough Scheme, so the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will now cover 80% of employees current salary until the end of March. The Self Employment Income Support Scheme has been raised to 80% of average profits up to £7,500, applicable to the same period.
Wednesday 4th November
Further Details Announced Regarding MP Approved England Lockdown from 5th November
An update to the guidance for November lockdown in England states providers of guest accommodation may remain open for specific reasons set out in law, including where guests cannot return to their main residence, guest accommodation is their main residence, or guests would be made homeless were the accommodation to close. Accommodation providers are also being encouraged to work with Local Authorities to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups including the homeless during the period.
Accommodation businesses can still accept guests who are termed critical workers, and those that need to travel for work. You can list your availability for these types of bookings here.
Sunday 1st November
England-wide Lockdown to Begin on 5th November
A new national lockdown for the whole of England comes into force at 00:01 on Thursday 5th October. Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation can only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions. Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) is to be extended until the end of November.
Thursday 29th October
Scotland’s First Minister Announces Country’s Restriction Levels
Detail of which of the five levels areas of Scotland have been put in to can be found here.
Nottinghamshire to Move to Tier 3 on 30th October
All districts of Nottinghamshire are moving to Tier 3 restrictions from 00:01 on Friday 30th October. More information can be found on the Nottinghamshire County Council website here.
Friday 23rd October
Scotland to Enter a 5 Level Covid Alert System from 2nd November
Scotland to enter new five-level Covid-19 classification system depending on the spread of the virus from 2nd November.
A grants system for businesses hit by restricted trading or closure has also been announced, working in the same way as those offered in England, more details on this can be found in yesterday’s blog entry below.
Click here for the BBC article.
Thursday 22nd October
Chancellor Announces New Support for Businesses (PLEASE NOTE: the Job Support Scheme has been superseded by the extension of the Furlough scheme to the end of March 2021 as detailed here)
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a series of new coronavirus support measures, including grants of up to £2,100 for hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation businesses.
The Job Support Scheme that comes in on November 1st reduces employee contribution to those hours unworked to 5%, and the number of minimum hours reduces to 20%, effectively making those working one day of the week eligible. Employees continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus.
The Self-employed Grant increases the level of profits covered to 40%, with up to £3.1 billion being made available from January to November, and a further grant coming from February to April.
Further Business Grants of up to £2,100 a month were also announced primarily for business in the ‘hospitality, accommodation and leisure’ sectors that are adversely impacted by high-alert level restrictions.
Click here to find out more details on gov.uk.
South Yorkshire to Move to Tier 3 on 24th October
South Yorkshire (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield) is moving to England’s highest level of Covid restrictions from 00:01 on Saturday 24th October.
The move is being supported with an agreed financial package of £41m, including £30m of support for the region’s businesses and £11m for local authority measures such as contact tracing.
Sheffield Mayor Dan Jarvis stated that the restrictions will be eased as soon as it is safe.
Click here for the BBC article.
Tuesday 20th October
Ireland to Move to the Highest Level of Lockdown
From Wednesday, 21th October, the Republic of Ireland is moving to level 5 lockdown restrictions, with non-essential shops closing and bars and restaurants being limited to takeaway services.
The lockdown is set to last for 6 weeks, but will be reviewed after 4. Click here to access the BBC article and find out about the restrictions.
“Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but only to support provision of essential services”. Click here for the Government webpage detailing the new rules.
Monday 19th October
Wales Lockdown Begins Friday 23rd October
The Welsh Government has announced a temporary two-week lockdown across Wales, to begin at 6pm on Friday 23rd October and lasting until Monday 9th November. People in Wales will be required to stay at home and work from home where possible, and non-essential shops, hospitality and tourism businesses will be required to close. Meeting people from other households will be banned, both indoors and outdoors.
People living in Wales will not be allowed to travel for holidays during the lockdown, and travel to and around Wales by visitors from other parts of the UK and abroad is not permitted.
The Government has also announced a financial support package of almost £300 million for businesses impacted by the measures, including a one-off payment of up to £5,000 for small and medium-sized hospitality businesses which are forced to close. Read the official announcement here and a useful list of FAQs here.
Updates on Irish Budget
Ministers Martin and Chambers announce support measures in Irish Budget of 13th October 2020:
- Reduction of VAT rate for tourism and hospitality services to 9% from 1/11/2020 to 31/12/2021.
- Financial scheme for accommodation businesses to get rebates of up to €5,000 per week to support businesses most affected by Covid restrictions.
- €55million business continuity fund to be administered by Fáilte Ireland.
- Rates Waiver Extension and introduction of the Covid support scheme.
Lancashire to Move to Tier 3 on 17th October
Lancashire is moving to Covid restrictions Tier 3 from 00.01 on Saturday 17 October. Learn more.
Wales Travel Ban
From Friday 16th October 6pm, it is prohibited to travel to Wales from Northern Ireland, Tier 2 and 3 areas in England, and the Scottish central belt. Click here for the BBC article.
New Support Scheme for NI Businesses
Finance Minister Conor Murphy announced a new support scheme for businesses in Northern Ireland forced to close due to Covid-19 restrictions, which will open for applications on Monday.
Small businesses are set to receive £1,600 every fortnight that they are in lockdown, medium businesses £2,400 and large firms £3,200.
- Small businesses with a Net Annual Value (NAV) of £15,000
- Medium businesses with a NAV of £15,00 to £51,000
- Large businesses with NAV of £51,000 or more
Click here for the full BBC article.
More areas move to Tier 2, including London
From Saturday October 17, London is moving to Covid measures Tier 2, with all restrictions that that implies coming into force. The same applies for:
- Elmbridge in Surrey
- Barrow in Furness, Cumbria
- North East Derbyshire
- Erewash, Derbyshire
Click here for the full BBC article on the topic.
Covid Restrictions in Your Area
Click here and enter your postcode to find out what rules and restrictions apply in your area.
How the New Tier System Will Affect Holidays (and your business)
Click here for the BBC article explaining how the three tier system will affect travel, and consequently, the way you run accommodation.
A quick summary: if you run accommodation in Tier 1 and host travellers from Tier 1, all current restrictions already in place apply. Travellers from Tier 2 are not permitted to share accommodation with people outside their household. Travellers from Tier 3 are only permitted to stay in guest accommodation within their local area, and only with members from their own household.
Click here for advice on travelling to an area with local restrictions.
New Covid Alert System
On 12 October 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new measures to tackle the spread of Covid-19 locally. Moving forward, there will be three levels of Covid Alert, segmenting the country into three tiers.
- Medium (Tier 1), where existing measures apply, such as the Rule of Six and the closure of hospitality venues at 10pm
- High (Tier 2), where a ban of indoor social interactions between different households will be introduced
- Very High (Tier 3), for areas greatly affected by Covid-19, where the NHS is significantly burdened
So far, the majority of the country is under ‘Medium’ alert, while Nottinghamshire, including Nottingham, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak are under ‘High Alert’. The only area currently under ‘Very High Alert’ is the Liverpool City Region. Click here to find out more about the local restrictions within this area.
The PM stated that ‘Areas within the Very High Alert category will be reviewed every four weeks and nowhere will be shut down indefinitely’.
He also explained that the exact restrictions within an area with ‘Very High’ Covid Alert and any relevant support packages will be discussed with local leaders on a case by case basis.
Restrictions could include a ban of social mixing between households in both indoor and outdoor settings, as well as the closing of bars and pubs. Restaurants could still remain open, and the same applies for pubs and bars that serve food.
Lastly, we are asked ‘not to travel into and out of Very High alert level areas’. Click here to read the full statement.
Support Measures for Businesses in Badly Affected Areas
The PM stated that the Job Support Scheme will be extended ‘to cover two-thirds of the wages of those in any business that is required to close’, and announced that affected businesses will be offered cash grants of up to £3,000 a month.
Click here for the full statement.
New 5% VAT Rate
Cafes, restaurants, pubs and any other businesses offering food or drink must now remain closed from 10pm to 5am. Click here for more information.
Social Distancing & Group Sizes
It is currently illegal to meet friends and family in groups larger than 6 people, in both indoor and outdoor venues. Click here to read more information on this rule and find out about the exceptions.