Political updates

  • 90 min Coronavirus Tests: The Government has announced that, from next week, it will be introducing two new tests that are able to detect the coronavirus in 90 minutes. Of particular note is that these tests do not require a trained health professional to operate them and can be used in non-clinical settings. This seems to increase the possibility of introducing a more sophisticated approach to people entering the UK than 14-day quarantining.

Government updates

There are 2,000 places available on the Small Business Leadership Programme and 6,000 on the Peer Networks programme.

  • Changes to claims on the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme from 1 August: The rules for the scheme have changed. Unless you’re making a new claim for an employee who is a military reservist or is returning from statutory parental leave, you can only continue to claim through the scheme if:
    • You have previously furloughed the employee for 3 consecutive weeks between March 1 and 30 June
    • You submitted your claim before 31 July
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme update for those with a new child: A new form and accompanying guidance is available for those who have a new child, which affected their trading profits or total income reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019. You can use the new form to ask HMRC to verify that you had a new child. HMRC will review your application and contact you within 2 weeks. If HMRC tells you that your information has been verified, you should make a claim from 17 August 2020 to find out if you’re eligible for the grant.
  • Test and Trace: It is important to note that while the guidance states that if a person starts to feel symptoms, they should start 7-day self-isolation, and a negative test will mean they can return to work – if they are alerted through Test and Trace, they should then always complete a full 14-day self-isolation, regardless of whether they get a negative test result. This NHS FAQ document supports this stance and has been circulated to all Local Authorities and should be advising consistently on the basis of its contents.
  • Marriages and civil partnerships: Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships has been updated to reflect additional requirements on face coverings and amendments to the roadmap for wedding receptions.
  • Playgrounds and outdoor gyms: Guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms has been updated to reflect the additional requirements on face coverings.
  • Eat Out to Help Out Scheme officially begins today. Find out more and how to apply.
  • Zoo Grant: Guidance on how to apply for a Zoo Animal Support Fund grant has been published.

Local lockdowns

Devolved administrations updates

From 3 August:

  • The restrictions preventing more than two households or extended households meeting outdoors will be changed to allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
    • Pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes will be able to re-open indoors. As will indoor bowling alleys, auction houses, and bingo halls.
    • Licensed wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies. However, indoor receptions will not be able to take place for the time being – they will be considered as part of the changes for 15 August.
    • The guidance will be updated to relax the position on children under 11 having to maintain a 2 metres distance from each other or from adults.

If conditions remain favourable, from 10 August:

  • Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas, and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open.
    • Children’s indoor play areas will be able to open.
  • The Welsh Government is also exploring whether changes can be made to the rules to enable people to meet indoors with other people who aren’t part of their household or extended household from 15 August.

Tourism update

  • VisitBritain has run a domestic impact model for 2020. As with their inbound forecast, this represents a snapshot in time and will be reviewed throughout the year. The forecast makes a number of assumptions to provide an estimate of impact. Subsequent developments could change the outlook.
    • They have forecast a central scenario for Britain of £46.8bn in domestic tourism spending in 2020, down 49% compared to 2019 when spending by domestic tourists in Britain was £91.6bn.  This comprises £12.6bn from overnight tourism, down from £24.7bn in 2019, and £34.2bn from day trips, down from £67.0bn in 2019.
    • This is a decline of 49% for both overnights and leisure day trips, although the pattern of the recovery will be different. While some categories of day trips started to recover first, others will be very limited for some months to come.

This represents a loss of £44.9bn (£12.1bn from overnights and £32.8bn from day trips) – greater than the loss from inbound tourism in absolute value terms, although lower in percentage terms.

More information is available on VisitBritain.org

Industry update

  • The Betting and Gaming Council sent a letter to the Chancellor following Friday’s government announcement that delayed the opening of casinos.

Situation update 1 August 2020