key update from John Bridge OBE DL

The safe return of international travel

From the Chamber perspective we welcome the Global Travel Framework released by the government this morning but nevertheless it comes with its own health warning as questions remain.

The travel sector has been one of the hardest hit in the last year, with prolonged uncertainty about when the full resumption of travel will be possible. This framework provides some welcome clarity however much uncertainty remains around what countries will be on the green list come 17 May. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests required under the guidelines will also prove costly for many travellers, harming those businesses and supply chains who rely on international travel to trade. The government must redouble their efforts to provide further clarity on the green list as quickly as possible and ensure the PCR tests are affordable and accessible to all.

The Global Travel Taskforce’s framework to safely reopen international travel from 17 May includes:
  • A new traffic light system categorising countries based on risk and restrictions
  • Requirement to pre-book tests and quarantine for inbound passengers applies to people differently depending on whether the destination visited is categorised as ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’
  • A ‘green watchlist' to warn travellers of potential changes in advance
  • Exemptions from restrictions for specified jobs
  • No need to prove a valid reason to leave the country
  • Restrictions reviewed on 28 June and at checkpoints no later than 31 July and 1 October 2021.
The news release from The Secretary of State for Transport is here.  

The full report of the Global Travel Taskforce can be accessed here.  

Recovery Loan Scheme Launched

A new government-backed loan scheme was launched on Tuesday 6 April by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to provide additional finance to those businesses that need it.

  • Loans will include 80% government guarantee and interest rate cap
  • The Recovery Loan Scheme will ensure businesses continue to benefit from Government-guaranteed finance throughout 2021-opened until 31 December 2021
  • The Recovery Loan Scheme can be used as an additional loan on top of support received from the emergency schemes - such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - put into place last year
  • From 6 April, businesses - ranging from coffee shops, and restaurants, to hairdressers and gyms - can access loans varying in size from £25,000, up to a maximum of £10 million. Invoice and asset finance is available from £1,000.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s statement is here.  For more information on what other financial support you can get for your business, click here.  

Workplace Guidance Update

  • Guidance  on NHS Test and Trace in the workplace updated with rules for businesses reopening, and for entering a venue. You must ask every customer or visitor to scan the NHS QR code using their NHS COVID-19 app, or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member of the group.

  • Working safely in care homes: Guidance updated  to introduce recommendations to change PPE after each episode of personal care, and new recommendations around use of eye protection when delivering personal care within two metres.

Reminder of how the rules will change on 12 April

From Monday 12 April England will move to Step Two of the roadmap.

From 12 April:
  • Non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • Most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • Some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • Indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • All childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • Self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • You should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • Care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test).
Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do  will change on 12 April. For more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England these can be found here.  

Contact the Chamber

01223 237414 •
Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce
Clifford House, 2 Station Yard, Oakington, Cambridge, CB24 3AH