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The Prime Minister’s statement, today, outlined some changes that will be put in place for all of England,including the postponement of live performances and pilots of large gatherings in conference centres and the extension of the face coverings guidance to include museums, galleries, and cinemas.  

The Prime Minister’s announcement

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today made a statement, alongside the Chief Medical Officer, with regard to the latest COVID-19 restrictions imposed on the North West of England last night, and some further postponements and guidance changes that will be put in place for all of England.

The Prime Minister confirmed that the Government would seek to act quickly where risks occur. The weekly survey has shown that the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community is beginning to rise again. An overview of the North West England lockdown was given, explaining that businesses should continue to work and operate as before, but restrictions would mean that people could not see friends and family.

Reopening and guidance changes for all of England

The plan to reopen remains conditional, and the Government has decided to slow down the reopening of higher risk settings across England. It was announced that the reopening of casinos, bowling alleys, and close-contact services would be postponed by two weeks to 15 August.

Live performances and pilots of large gatherings in conference centres have also been postponed. Wedding receptions cannot take place, but weddings themselves still can. 

Face covering guidance has been extended for settings such as museums, galleries, cinemas, and places of worship. This will become the law on 8 August. The Home Secretary is working with the police to ensure that settings not following guidelines can be closed, and to ensure that face coverings are being worn when required.

HMRC announces further details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Bonus 

Businesses will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January 2021. 

A policy statement published by the HMRC today gives employers further details on eligibility requirements and how they can claim the bonus: 

  • Employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed under Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021.
  • To ensure the jobs are meaningful and well-paid, employees must earn at least £520 (the National Insurance lower earnings limit) a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January.
  • Those who were furloughed and had a claim submitted for them after 10 June (when the CJRS closed to new entrants), because they were returning from paternal leave or time serving as a military reservist, will also be eligible for the bonus as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria.
  • Employers will also be eligible for employee transfers protected under TUPE legislation, provided they have been continuously employed and meet the other eligibility criteria and the new employer has also submitted a CJRS claim for that employee.

Other Government announcements

  • Luxembourg has been removed from list of travel exemptions for the whole of the UK, following data showing a significant change in confirmed cases.
  • New guidance has been published for people who live in the North West of England, outlining the local restrictions and what you can and cannot do.
  • Additional webinars are available for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Universal Credit, and Child Benefit, providing advice about making claims.

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