What has changed for businesses in England:
• From Monday 14 September, you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than six. This will apply indoors and outdoors. COVID-19 Secure venues, such as restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. Education and work settings are unaffected, and organised team sports will still be able to proceed, as will weddings and funerals up to 30.• Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace. From 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, and keep this for 21 days. Core COVID-19 Secure requirements will be mandated for hospitality businesses, and egregious breaches enforced.• The Government will support Local Authorities and police forces to respond to breaches of COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Simplified COVID-19 Secure guidance is available here. • The Government will review plans to pilot larger audiences in venues this month. Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing, and will not take place in areas where incidence is high. We will review our intention to return audiences to stadia and conference centres from 1 October.• The Government will restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in local lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future. This has been introduced in Bolton, following a steep rise in cases, and will seek to restrict activities that may lead to a spread in the virus.
These measures apply to England – but there may be different rules if you operate in an area under local lockdown and you should check those rules here.
As with all official announcements of this nature, there are always many unanswered questions and we will be looking in depth at the detail as soon as it is available and keep you fully updated.
Hands Face Space
A video of the new focus on Hands Face Space can be seen here.
New grants announced for firms forced to close due to local Coronavirus restrictionsThe UK government has announced that firms in England forced to close due to local Coronavirus restrictions will be able to claim grants of up to £1,500 every three weeks. With local restrictions becoming more frequent, collectively as Chambers we have been calling for support for affected firms.
Of course businesses forced to close through no fault of their own will welcome any new grant support, but for most this will not be enough to offset the resulting cash crunch.
With new local restrictions becoming more frequent, a comprehensive package of support will be needed for affected firms. Many businesses we speak to see local lockdowns as a major barrier to maintaining day-to-day operations and more than one in three have three months or less worth of cash in reserve.
We will be conveying to the relevant Government Ministers that they need to increase the amount on offer to ensure businesses and jobs are protected, and extend coverage to more firms that are hard-hit but not forced to close.
Bounce-back plans launched for consumer and retail industryLast Tuesday the Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart MP, announced a series of new measures to support businesses in the consumer and retail industry to export overseas as part of efforts to help the sector recover from Coronavirus. New plans include creation of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via a digital learning syllabus.