Further to the Prime Minister’s update on Friday, some further details around the next phase of reopening and pilots in England are now available.
Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are now allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate that it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
From 1 August, if prevalence remains around or below current levels, the Government will take the following steps:
- Enable the restart of indoor performances to a live audience, in line with COVID-19 secure guidelines, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place as soon as possible.
- Carry out pilots in venues with a range of sizes of crowds, particularly where congregating from different places, including business events. The pilots (some of which will begin late July) will be carefully monitored and evaluated to inform future decisions on any further relaxation of the rules.
- Enable wedding receptions – sit-down meals for no more than 30 people, subject to COVID-19 secure guidance.
- Exhibition and conference centres are allowed to show small groups (of up to 30 people with social distancing requirements) around to view the facilities and plan future events and to enable Government-backed pilots to take place. They should not be open fully to host events more widely.
From 1 October:
- It is expected that events of all types, including sporting events as well as business events and conferences, will be permitted to resume from 1 October, provided rates of infection remain at current levels. The Government will hold a number of pilots at event venues around the country to plan for the return of large-scale events and test how to implement social distancing practices. Details of these pilots will be finalised in the coming weeks.
Guidance on working safely in the visitor economy has been updated to include business events and consumer shows.
Customer logging toolkit for businesses
Public Health England has published the Customer Logging Toolkit. This contains a variety of template materials for businesses to display, as well as guidance on how the policy works. Businesses should be storing the information securely for 21 days and sharing it with NHS Test and Trace if asked to do so. Businesses do not need to do anything else with the information.
If a customer tells you they have tested positive for coronavirus, you should tell them to self-isolate as soon as possible and to register their contacts with NHS Test and Trace. You should not use the log of customer details you have collected to contact other customers yourself. Instead, if NHS Test and Trace assess that the customer was on your premises while potentially infectious, they will contact you to provide support and to obtain the details of anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.
HMRC support for VAT reduction for tourism and hospitality
If you have any detailed questions about the reduced rate of VAT you can contact
- Telephone: 0300 200 3700. Outside UK: +44 2920 501 261
- Email: VATtourismandhospitality@hmrc.gov.uk
Face coverings at work
Guidance on face coverings, their role in reducing the transmission of coronavirus, the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely used and stored is available here. There is no universal face-coverings guidance for workplaces because of the variety of work environments in different industries. Employers should continue to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to reduce the proximity and duration of contact between employees.
Visa Application Centre (VACs) update
More than 130 VACs have now reopened in total. It has been confirmed that a number of additional VACs will now also reopen later this month. To see the most up-to-date information about which VACs are open, you can visit the relevant websites:
- Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East visit: uk.tlscontact.com
- All other countries visit: vfsglobal.co.uk
Other Government updates
- Guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms has been updated to reflect additional requirements on face coverings.
- Closing certain businesses and venues in England guidance has been updated to show further easing of restrictions for more businesses and venues to reopen from 25 July and 1 August.
- Sporting events will allow fans to return from 1 October with social distancing in place, if it is safe to do so. The Government has announced that a small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators through late July and early August.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance has been updated to clarify that notice periods being served by furloughed employees include contractual notice periods.
See our Business Advice Hub for advice on reopening and more.