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Political Update

  • Stronger enforcement powers: in confirming the resumption of the easing of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of further sectors put on pause on 1 August, the Prime Minister has announced a series of tough new enforcement measures targeting the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions. This includes increased fines for repeatedly not wearing face coverings where mandated and spot fines for hosting or facilitating illegal gatherings. More information can be found here.
  • The Government has also updated the COVID-19 Secure workplace guidance for pubs and restaurants to reflect a tougher expectation of enforcement by the industry in a number of key areas – in particular ensuring that track and trace systems are maintained to ensure that information is gathered on customers to facilitate local control of infection. The Government is piloting a new national app which will be rolled out shortly, but in the meantime, they’re asking that all indoor leisure and workplaces step up their efforts to capture data and support track and trace. For hospitality, compliance will be particularly important to support further requests for support and avoid any pressure to close premises in the event of future infection spikes.
  • More particularly, section 2.1 on multiple households has also been revised and now requires businesses to take steps not to “intentionally facilitate gatherings between a greater number of households than is permitted in their local area and should take steps to ensure customer compliance”. For most of the UK this is no more than 2 households indoors (no upper specified limit) and up to 6 people from different households outdoors. Businesses are advised to inform customers through signage at the premises or at online booking platforms, and ensure that staff ask whether the party is from no more than 2 households. There is a growing expectation of a verbal check on arrival of both households and whether track and trace has been complied with. Members are advised to update their training and online messaging and are reminded that, in areas of local restrictions or under special measures due to high infection, closure powers exist.
     
  • Current rules on gatherings in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire, and Leicester will remain in place, and UKH has joined other brewers, industry leaders, and the Mayor of Manchester to reiterate the importance of customers abiding by these controls.
     
  • A new email address has been created by the Department of Health and Social Care for any queries that businesses and business representative bodies may have on local lockdown in their area: TTDHSCexternalaffairs@dhsc.gov.uk

Meetings & Events

  • Updates to the Visitor Economy guidance have now been published to reflect the current permissions related to meetings being held of up to 30 persons. This confirms that venues with multiple rooms may host as many events of up to 30 people as they can safely accommodate, providing the groups can be kept separate.
     
  • Basic catering can be provided at meetings and events but buffet or self-serve is not recommended. Banqueting and private dining events should not currently take place in any venue. If a banqueting venue is able to operate as a restaurant this would be allowed.
     
  • Receptions, award ceremonies, team building exercises will all need to wait until restrictions on business events are lifted (1 October, if public health assessments allow). It notes that for conferences and events, venues should consider social distancing approximately equivalent to a density of 10㎡ per person, given the additional risks of large groups interacting in this specific environment.
     
  • Academic venues can use their lecture theatres and classrooms to host external meetings.
     
  • Details on whether face masks need to be worn in meeting venues are still being sought.

Devolved Administration Update

  • As part of the next review of Wales’ coronavirus restrictions, the First Minister has prioritised allowing people to see more of their family and friends by permitting up to 4 households to join together and form a single extended household from 22 August. At the same time, wedding receptions and wakes will be allowed to resume with up to 30 people. However, the Welsh Govt will not be making any changes to the rules on people meeting indoors with people who aren’t part of their household or extended household; this includes in hospitality businesses.
     
  • The Welsh Government has also confirmed that amended regulations will come into force next week to make it obligatory for hospitality businesses and other high-risk settings to collect contact details of customers. The Welsh Government recently strengthened the powers local authorities have to enforce these regulations.
     
  • Regulations introduced in Scotland made it mandatory for hospitality settings to collect the contact details of visitors (customer, staff, and contractors or delivery drivers) to their premises in support of Test and Protect. The new regulations apply to restaurants, cafes, pubs, and hotels, in which food or drink are sold for consumption on the premises, and require premises to refuse service to those customers refusing to provide details. Premises must store the information for 21 days and share it when requested to do so by public health officers within 24 hours.
  • New statutory guidance for the hospitality sector has also been published which restricts queuing inside and out, imposes strict limits on the number of households that can meet at any one time – 8 people from up to 3 households indoors and 15 people from up to 5 households outdoors – and bans any background music, TV sound.

COVID Impact Assessment

  • DCMS has launched the second wave of the Coronavirus Impact Business Survey to understand the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on organisations in the culture, gambling, hospitality and tourism sectors and will be used to inform DCMS’ preparedness efforts and future lobbying. The survey should take around 10-20 minutes and can be found here. The deadline for responses to the survey will be 8th September 2020.
     
  • ONS COVID-19 round-up research has been published. Some key findings on going on holiday include: third of adults have said that their household would not be able to afford a week’s holiday this year; 59% said they could afford a week away but just 10% were likely to travel abroad. They were asked about their holiday plans this year, and 1 in 5 (20%) reported that they had cancelled their travel plans, and 14% said they’d decided to holiday in the UK instead of travelling abroad this year.
     
  • The latest ONS data has been released looking at the Economic Impacts of Coronavirus and reveals the ongoing impact on the hospitality, entertainment and leisure sector. 42% of businesses in the sector report operating costs exceeding turnover; a third of businesses are still not open and a similar proportion are reporting sales down by over 50%. Only 14% of food and accommodation business report that turnover has not been impacted or has increased – compared to 40% across UK industry as a whole.

Other Government updates

  • New NHS Test and Trace app begins trial phase, as latest statistics show the service is consistently reaching the majority of people testing positive and their contacts.
     
  • The Eat Out to Help Out scheme new online claims portal is now operating to allow businesses to make weekly claims of discounts offered. Guidance on how to claim is available from HMRC.
     
  • As part of the Government’s ongoing “Enjoy Summer Safely” campaign, this week will be “Love Culture Week” and includes “Throwback Thursday” where they want people to use the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday to post pictures from UK holidays and day trips of the past and say why you can’t wait to visit again.
  • The Government’s new Face Coverings Exemption Toolkit has been published and makes clear that frontline staff are the exemptions from the mandatory need for the use of face covering in public areas of tourism business such as hotels, takeaway and indoor leisure 

Transport Update

  • France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba will be removed from travel corridors list. This comes into effect at 4am Saturday 15 August. The press release is here.
     
  • The only exemption from the above is where you are transiting one of the above countries as part of your travel back to the UK eg coaches, ferries, trains or flights which do not involve a transit stop in a non-exempt country but provide travel through it. However, if your journey has a transit stop where new passengers get on or passengers get off and mingle then you will still need to self isolate.

Situation update 17 August 2020