Visit England and Visit Britain wanted to share the latest updates and announcements with you including some clarity around reopening ahead of step 2 of the roadmap, the publication of the Health Protection regulations 2021, updates to the Additional Restrictions Grants and Restart Grants guidance and other updates. Clarity for accommodation and step 2 of the reopening roadmap for businesses in England The UK Government has published the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 in relation to the roadmap steps.
Along with this DCMS has shared some clarity on guidance on the reopening of accommodation.
From Step 2, no earlier than 12 April, separate and self-contained accommodation will be open for leisure stays. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities (kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as: lifts, staircases, lounges, sitting areas and internal corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as a shared facility or indoor communal area if they are required in order to be open for check-in purposes.
What can open
At Step 2, accommodation in which all facilities listed above are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open. This will mean that holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels which do not rely on sharing those facilities listed may open.
Campsites and caravan parks will be permitted from Step 2 provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are washing facilities, toilets, water points and waste disposal points. These facilities should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place. This would involve either assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated).
All accommodation may continue to open for the current permitted reasons, such as to provide accommodation for those who are unable to return to their main residence; for the homeless; for those who need accommodation for work, education or training purposes; for those who need to attend medical appointments; or for those self-isolating as required by law including for the Managed Quarantine Service for high risk international arrivals.
What cannot open
This phased approach to reopening means that the rest of the sector will follow at Step 3. Between now and Step 3 this means a continued closure of hotels, hostels, B&Bs, guest houses and any other accommodation that relies on sharing these facilities. This will also require the continued closure of any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above.
From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, all remaining accommodation will be permitted to reopen for leisure stays.
Step 2 - will also see the reopening of non-essential retail; personal care facilities and close contact services such as beauty salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas); and indoor sports and leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools. Where these facilities are located within a hotel or other guest accommodation, they are permitted to reopen and can be accessed - if necessary - from inside the building i.e. without the requirement for direct street access, though businesses should continue to comply with COVID-secure guidance to mitigate transmission risk. Outdoor hospitality which is permitted to open at Step 2, located on a hotel premises or other guest accommodation, may also reopen, and customers will be permitted to use indoor toilets as required. The guidance for Hotels & Other Guest Accommodation will be updated in advance of each step of the roadmap with further detail. Restart Grants guidance update The updated information states that the grants will be available from 1 April 2021, but applications can be submitted in advance. Also the eligibility criteria on when a business needed to be trading has changed to be 1 April 2021. Additional Restrictions Grants The Government has updated its guidance regarding eligibility for the Additional Restrictions Grants. Of note is paragraph 27 (copied below) which now specifies a greater number of businesses as being eligible: Local Authorities are encouraged to support businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions, but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme. This may include, but is not limited to, group travel and tour operators, other tourism businesses (including B&Bs and event industry suppliers), wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses (including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses), wraparound care providers, and other businesses that may have not received other grant funding. This list is not directive nor exhaustive, and Local Authorities should continue to issue grants at their discretion, based on local economic needs. Regulations set out that pave the way for restrictions easing from 21 June in England The government has set out regulations which will pave the way to the easing of all restrictions from 21 June. The regulations mean from 29 March outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed including in private gardens. The regulations will be voted on by Parliament this Thursday, and if approved, will replace the ‘all tiers’ regulations which were made to enact the tier system at the end of last year. Read the press release.
This comes as a new One Year report is published that details which powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 are currently active. Measures to support the reopening of high streets and seaside resorts in England The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a package of support to help local economies and businesses in England. The package includes a new £56 million Welcome Back Fund that will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups. Part of this funding will be allocated to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England to safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months. Other Government updates
Advice has been published on GOV.UK stating how the stay at home restrictions in England will change on 29 March.
Pages advising on the closing certain businesses and venues and reopening certain businesses and venues in England have been updated. Information includes updates on business support and business rates; and changes to reflect that people can leave the home to take part in outdoor recreation and exercise.
Government has outlined the accelerated process that partially exempt VAT registered businesses whose trading activities have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) should follow to request temporary alterations to their partial exemption method.