Political Updates

Today, the Prime Minister announced a reversal of further lockdown easing in England, following spikes in reported cases. Certain businesses were due to re-open from 1 August 2020 as part of the Government’s roadmap to recovery. However, the plans to open these venues will now be postponed for at least two weeks. The following businesses and venues will now not open before 15 August:

o   Casinos

o   Bowling alleys

o   Skating rinks 

o   Indoor performances 

o   Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres

o   Wedding receptions of up to 30 people 

  • The vast majority of hospitality businesses will be unaffected by these changes, including meetings of up to 30 people, which have been allowed from 17 July.
  • Also announced was, from 8 August, face coverings must be worn in an increased number of settings, including museums, galleries, cinemas, and places of worship. However, UKHospitality does not believe this will affect most hospitality businesses but is seeking clarity.
  • There has been no change to work-from-home guidance.
  • The full speech can be found here.

Local lockdown

  • Northern England lockdown: Yesterday the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that new rules on social gatherings will be introduced in parts of Northern England to stop the spread of COVID-19. These changes will also apply in Leicester city. More information can be found here.

The official guidance to accompany the Northern Lockdown can be found here. Almost all tourism businesses are allowed to remain open. The only businesses that have to close are the following ones in Blackburn, Darwen, and Bradford:

·         indoor gyms

·         indoor fitness and dance studios

·         indoor sports courts and facilities

·         indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks

People from outside are still able to enter the lockdown area to undertake a holiday (provided that they do not socialise with other people indoors). However, non-essential travel outside the lockdown area is not allowed – unless it is for work or to attend a wedding. Clarity on this is being sought.

Government updates

  • Eat out to Help Out: Information about the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme has been updated to include information on hospitality and golf packages.
  • Update on Job Retention Bonus: HMRC have published further details of how jobs will be protected through the government’s Job Retention 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 next year. Further details can be found here.
  • SME grants: The Government has announced a £20 million fund to support the recovery of small and medium-sized businesses in England. Businesses will be eligible to receive grants between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them access technology, equipment, or professional advice as they plan for recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Growth Hubs, embedded in local areas across England.
    • Activities supported through the funding can include:
      • One-to-many events providing guidance to respond to coronavirus.
      • Grants (£1,000 – £5,000) to help businesses access specialist professional advice such as HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT, and digital, and to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify.
  • SME support programmes: on Monday 3 August, BEIS will be launching two new initiatives to help SMEs across England in enhancing their resilience and recovery strategies, to ensure that they are in a great position to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and to develop their potential for future growth and productivity. These two schemes represent a £20m investment by BEIS: 
    • The Small Business Leadership Programme is a fully-funded 10-week programme delivered online by a consortium of university business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter. The programme is designed to be manageable around participants’ busy schedules. Participants’ businesses must have been operational for at least one year and have 5 to 249 employees.
    • Peer Networks will bring together diverse cohorts of business leaders to discuss their business challenges with their peers. Delivered through a series of virtual, high-impact group sessions, with the help of a trained facilitator, from finance and HR to sales, marketing and more, participants will discuss their own challenges, gain and reflect on valuable feedback from their peers, and identify practical solutions to overcome them. Peer Networks will be delivered locally and be accessible through local Growth Hubs across England. Participants’ businesses will have been operating for at least one year and have 5 to 249 employees and a turnover of over £100,000.

Further information will be available on the gov.uk website at the point of launch.

  • Redundancy Pay: Government has brought in a law to ensure furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate. Further details on this can be found here.
  • Economic impact: A new report has been published on the economic impacts of the coronavirus in the UK. The indicators and analysis presented are based on responses from the voluntary fortnightly business survey, which captures businesses’ responses on how their turnover, workforce prices, trade, and business resilience have been affected. This data relates to the period 29 June 2020 to 12 July 2020.

Devolved Administrations

  • Scotland: A £14 million Hotel Recovery Programme was announced by the Scottish Government on Wednesday. It aims to help secure up to 3,000 jobs at Scotland’s larger hotels until the start of the summer 2021 tourism season. Eligible businesses can apply for individual grants of up to £250,000 in addition to a suite of wrap-around business support and advice.

VisitScotland will also deliver £1 million in grants to self-catering businesses that have not received any other Scottish Government COVID-19 support. Businesses that apply and meet the criteria will be eligible for a one-off £10,000 grant to support them through the winter season.

  • Wales: Indoor hospitality in Wales will be permitted to reopen from Monday. This includes indoor play areas and leisure centres, as well as pubs and restaurants. The Government guidance has been updated. Businesses reopening indoors must ensure customers provide lead names and contact details to facilitate the Test Trace Protect scheme.  

UKHospitality will be meeting with Welsh Government to seek to drive forward a route map for reopening function and event centres and weddings venues and is in discussions with Welsh Government to seek additional targeted rescue funding support for the tourism and hospitality sector in Wales.

Travel and tourism Update

  • Health and care workers returning to the UK from high-risk countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Advice has been updated for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents whose visa or leave expires before 31 August 2020.
  • The latest UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report, also available on visitbritain.org, for week 10, based on fieldwork from 20-24 July, found that 14% of adults claimed to have already taken a domestic overnight trip in July. Among those who intend to take a UK trip between now and the end of September, 50% say they have already planned it while 36% claim to have already booked it.

37% of UK adults believe the ‘worst is still to come’ with regards to Covid-19, which represents a significant decline on last week (-6%). As for when people feel things will be returning ‘close to normal’, slightly more are expecting ‘normality’ by December (27% versus 24% last week). 

Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday during August is fractionally down to 32% (-1% on last week). The main reason cited among those lacking confidence is having ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’, especially for trips during the winter period. Other key barriers for summer trips continue to be structural, such as fewer opportunities to eat/drink out or fewer things to do/places to visit, although ‘personal finances’ is emerging as a key concern for winter breaks.

Situation update 30 July 2020