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Political Update

  • New restrictions introduced in Bolton, England: This afternoon Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock announced new measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Bolton.

    The new measures, which come into force immediately, include:
     
    • All hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to takeaway only
       
    • Late-night restriction of operating hours, meaning venues will be required to close between 10pm and 5am
       
    • Socialising outside of your household will be banned and will be enforced by law, in all settings including outdoors.
       
  • UKHospitality has called on Government to engage with us urgently to help businesses understand what more they can do, and what triggers this level of lockdown.
     
  • Lifting of restrictions in some areas in the North of England: From 8 September, several businesses and venues that were closed will be able to re-open in Leicester City, Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham, Pendle and other areas in the North of England. Each area has slightly different changes and it is advised to check the specific area changes.

Devolved administrations Update

  • New restrictions in Caerphilly County, Wales: Following a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Caerphilly County, new restrictions have been introduced to reduce the spread of the virus and protect public health for people living in the area. The restrictions came into force at 6pm on 8 September 2020 and will be kept under review. People will not be allowed to enter or leave the Caerphilly County Borough Council area without a reasonable excuse.
     
  • New restrictions in Scotland for East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire: Following an increase in COVID-19 cases in the West of Scotland, new restrictions have been introduced in East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire, these follow restrictions that were introduced for people living in Glasgow City, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire. The restrictions will be introduced for an initial 2 week period and reviewed in 7 days.

    These local restrictions do not affect travel in or out of the affected areas, providing the guidance on mixing with other households in their home is followed. Anyone in the affected area visiting family or on holiday do not need to leave but should follow the recommendations in the guidance and take extra care when returning home. Guest of self-catering accommodation in unaffected areas must not mix with different households from affected areas.

 Other Government updates

  • A ‘bounce-back’ plan of trade measures for the consumer and retail industry has been announced to help support businesses impacted by Coronavirus.
     
  • The Kickstart Scheme employer contacts page has been updated to include a breakdown of English counties, to the local employer contact list.
     
  • Updated ONS Business Impact of Coronavirus data looks at turnover expectations of the same businesses over time, using the final results of waves 6 to 11 of the voluntary fortnightly Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey, covering the period 1 June to 23 August 2020. Some key findings include:
     
    • Between early June and mid-August 2020, the proportion of businesses expecting an increase in turnover gradually fell from 27% to 18%, while the proportion of those expecting a decrease also fell, from 16% to 10%.
       
    • The likelihood of a business’s turnover turning out to be lower than they predicted two weeks’ prior was 48% between early June and mid-August.
       
    • Businesses in the accommodation and food service activities industry were consistently the most optimistic sector (that is, turnover turned out to be lower than they expected two weeks prior).
       
    • Smaller-sized businesses in this sample (those with fewer than 250 employees) correctly predicted their turnover 39% of the time, compared with 34% for larger businesses.
       
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: A new template is available for download for businesses claiming for 100 or more employees through CJRS. Employers must now include if an employee has returned from statutory leave before being put on furlough.
     
  • Contacts for wedding services: The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has issued a statement setting out the CMA’s views on how the law operates in relation to contracts for wedding services affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

 Travel Update

  • England: In a statement yesterday Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a new islands policy for England. The policy is a targeted approach to add or remove a country’s islands to the travel corridors list. This means that an area (i.e. an island) that presents a higher or lower public health risk to UK travellers can be assessed separately to the rest of the country. 

    As part of the announcement Grant Shapps said that Greece remains part of the corridor scheme, but the Greek Islands of Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos are no longer on the travel exemptions list. Passengers arriving into England from these islands will need to self-isolate from 4:00am on Wednesday 9 September. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has also updated its travel advice for Greece to advise against all but essential travel to Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos. The rest of Greece remains exempt from the FCDO’s advice against all non-essential international travel.

 Situation update 8 September 2020