This is an incredibly fast-moving situation and the best source of information is Public Health England.

You can keep up to date with the latest advice from the UK Government’s website here:

These pages are being updated regularly.

If you have any information/updates regarding the impact of the evolving situation on current and future exhibitions, meetings, conferences, outdoor events etc. being held in the UK, please do share with us. Thank you.

We will be updating this page regularly too, as new information comes through via the BVEP from the latest TIER group meetings:

Government updates, 20th October

  • Update to guidance for those who work in performing arts in England on thinking about risk and managing performances.

 

  • Finding Financial Support

The Government has updated it’s online tool to help employers and the self-employed find out what financial support is available to them and how to access it in light of all the recent changes. This tool can be used by businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and provides information on eligibility for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

Read the results of the BVEP and EIF’s latest survey on the impact of Covid-19 on the Events Industry here.

Read the Events Industry Briefing Note – BVEP for a summary of the work the BVEP have been doing, as of 30/04/2020.

Read the report on the recent Social Distancing Survey.

Monday 20th July

Business events and conferences to resume in England from 1 October

Further to our update on Friday, here is the official announcement that 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 practises. 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.

New framework to contain coronavirus (COVID-19) locally

The government has laid out a new framework giving national and local authorities additional powers to slow the spread of COVID-19. National and local government will have the power to restrict local public gatherings and events, and close local businesses premises and outdoor spaces. The new powers went into effect on 18 July.

Government provides additional support for ATOL scheme

The government has moved to protect refund credit notes if holiday packages are cancelled due to COVID-19 if they are ATOL protected. The change will apply to holiday packages including a flight, and will mean passengers who accept refund credit notes for cancelled holidays as a result of COVID-19 will be protected by the ATOL scheme if necessary, even if the company they have booked with later collapses.

VisitScotland and Visit Wales ask visitors to pledge to visit safely

VisitScotland and Visit Wales have published visitor charters asking visitors to pledge to respect safety guidelines, the environment and local communities when they return to visit.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance in England updated to reflect upcoming changes

The following guidance has been updated to reflect the upcoming changes and timeline the Prime Minister announced last week. Note that the following guidance applies only to England.

Other COVID-19 government updates

Other government updates

  • A new bill will require pubs, cafés and restaurants to offer separate outdoor spaces for smokers and non-smokers.
  • The government has moved to make Changing Places toilets compulsory in new buildings. This change in building rules will require large and accessible toilet facilities to be built into public buildings from next year.
  • Exposure to the sea and coastal areas can play a significant role in boosting human health and well-being, according to a recent government study.

Government statement on China

Today Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made a statement to the House of Commons on Britain’s relationship with China. He began by outlining the ways in which Britain works positively with China, including welcoming students and visitors to UK, but noted that the new National Security Law that has been imposed on Hong Kong has caused issues with this relationship. He announced that the Home Secretary will be outlining new immigration routes for Hong Kong nationals, and that the UK government will extend the arms embargo from China and will indefinitely suspend the extradition treaty between China and the UK.

The full statement will soon be available here.

Situation update 20 July 2020

Wednesday 8th July

Chancellor’s Summer Economic statement

Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, gave his summer economic statement in which he set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’ to continue the UK’s recovery from the Coronavirus outbreak. The Chancellor noted that tourism has been one of the worst affected sectors and below is a summary of the key points from the Chancellors statement for tourism businesses.

  • The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will also be cut from 20% to 5%.
  • To encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants the Government has set up a new Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme. It will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.
  • A bonus scheme worth up to £9 billion for firms has been announced to re-employ furloughed workers. An employer who brings someone back off furlough, and keeps them in a job until January, will get a £1,000 bonus. To get the bonus, firms must pay at least £520 each month.
  • A new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will also be launched to create fully subsidised jobs. Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment already provided for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Other Government updates

  • Updated videos are available on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furloughing to reflect the extension of the scheme.

Industry updates

  • The DFDS ferry route from Newcastle to Amsterdam will re-open on 15 July.
  • In July and August Etihad plans to return to resume a wider network to include 58 destinations (subject to the lifting of international restrictions).This will include major gateways in Europe including London.

Situation update 8 July 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 8th JULY

Here’s todays update with some good news about how the VAT reduction announced in the Chancellor’s Statement will be applied to bookings.

  • Chancellors Announcement

By now you will have digested most of the Chancellors statement so there are just a couple of things to highlight. The first is that the guidance on the announcements is due tomorrow so many of the details will be know then. However, I have been in touch with HM Treasury officials since the announcement and they have clarified that the reduction in VAT will apply when the payment is received – not when the product is “consumed”. This means that businesses can apply the reduced rate to any booking where the payment is received between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021 and provides significant opportunities for businesses to improve their cashflow by selling summer 2021 product at the low VAT rate.

The one other component of the package that I didn’t mention earlier that will be of interest to a lot of tourism and hospitality businesses is the Job Retention Bonus. This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021. Further detail about the scheme will be announced by the end of July.

  • Travel Corridors Guidance Updated

DFT has updated the guidance for Travel Corridors with more information on transit stops, passengers arriving in England before 10 July 2020 and British overseas territories – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors

  • Public Health Officer Guidance

Public Health England have produced guidance for PHOs that explain their powers and outline how these powers should be used. These are useful to know, especially for accommodation businesses who may have a customer that they suspect has Coronavirus. The main powers are:

    • PHOs may direct, remove or request a constable to remove, an individual to a place suitable for screening and assessment.
    • PHOs may require an individual to be screened and impose other requirements on an individual in connection with their screening and assessment.
    • Following an assessment, a PHO can impose requirements and restrictions on the individual.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/898828/Guidance_for_public_health_officers_-_potentially_infectious_persons.pdf

  • Impact on Household Incomes

Attached is a piece of analysis from HM Treasury on the impact of Coronavirus and Government interventions on the incomes of working households. The research shows that overall, the reduction in household income is less that 10% across almost all income groups except for the highest 10% and those in the bottom decile have actually seen a rise in their income.

  • Privacy Information Regarding Testing Positive

DHSC has updated the privacy Information guidance to say that if there is reasonable evidence that an employee contracted COVID-19 from a work-related exposure then the business operator is obliged to report this to the Health and Safety Executive, as required by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-privacy-information/testing-for-coronavirus-privacy-information-quick-read

  • Deferring Self-Assessment Payments

The guidance for self-employed people has been updated to explain why people’s June 2020 Self Assessment statements showed a date of 31 January 2021. Apparently, this is because HMRC updated their IT systems to prevent customers incurring late payment interest on any July 2020 Payment on Account paid between 1st August 2020 and 31 January 2021. The deferment has not been applied for all customers by HMRC and it remains optional – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/defer-your-self-assessment-payment-on-account-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

 

Monday, 6th July

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for accommodation providers

Updated guidance for those providing hotel and other accommodation in England has been updated to reflect changes in effect from 4 July 2020. As they prepare to reopen, accommodation providers may refer to specific guidance for:

Certain individuals arriving from overseas will be required by law to self-isolate for 14 days, and businesses providing holiday accommodation may provide rooms to those required to self-isolate. Accommodation for these purposes should adhere to the same guidelines as for other permitted stays, including on social distancing and cleaning.

If a guest is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they should inform their accommodation provider, immediately self-isolate and request a test. Guests who test positive for COVID-19 should return home if they can do so safely, and if they cannot reasonably return home they should work with the accommodation provider and local health care professionals to determine next steps.

Travel corridors: Countries exempt from self-isolation requirement on arrival in England

A written ministerial statement on travel corridors has been published outlining the process by which the government determined which countries and territories to exempt from mandatory self-isolation when arriving in England. Decisions were informed by analysis on a range of data from each country, including the estimated proportion of the population that is currently infectious, trends in virus incidences and deaths and information on each country’s testing capacity and the quality of data available.

The government will keep the requirements and exemptions set out in the regulations under review. The next review of the regulations will take place by 27 July 2020. For further information, please visit gov.uk/uk-border-control.

Countries exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ travel

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revised its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ international travel, sharing a list of countries that no longer prove an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. These exemptions came into effect on 4 July.

Travellers should note that the FCO’s list of safe destinations does not match the list of travel corridor countries, so British travellers who visit certain countries on this list will still need to self-isolate upon returning.

Updated self-isolation guidance and further traveller exemptions

Guidance on how to self-isolate when travelling to the UK has been updated to reflect exemptions for certain travel corridor countries and territories.

Updated travel details and new coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance has also been published for individual travellers exempt from border rules in the UK, beyond those people travelling from travel corridor destinations.

Industry updates

  • The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Carnival Corporation will host a virtual scientific summit focused on the coronavirus on 23 July. The summit will be free and open to the public and will share the latest scientific knowledge and best practices related to prevention, detection, treatment and mitigation of the virus.
  • Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line will collaborate to develop enhanced cruise health and safety standards in response to COVID-19.

Situation update 7 July 2020

 

Tuesday, 7th July

Cultural and heritage organisations to be protected with £1.57 billion support package

The Government announced today a £1.57 billion support package for the arts, culture and heritage industries, through which organisations from a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage sites, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans.

The package includes:

  • £1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grants.
  • £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
  • £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The new funding will also mean an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).

The Government has said that decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute. We will share more information as it becomes available.

Guidance for reopening in England

The following guidance has been published or updated in line with the reopening of the visitor economy in England from 4 July:

Closing certain businesses and venues in England, social distancing in a local lockdown

Guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England (or keeping them closed) has been updated following the further easing of coronavirus restrictions from 4 July, as well as location-specific guidance for closing businesses in Leicester. Leicester-specific guidance for social distancing during a local lockdown has also been updated.

Stay local requirement lifted in Wales from 6 July

First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed that the requirement in to stay local will be lifted in Wales from Monday 6 July. The following rules take effect from today:

  • Legal requirement to stay local (and the associated guidance about the 5-mile rule of thumb) no longer applies.
  • There is no limitation on travel but holiday accommodation in Wales is not allowed to be open.
  • People from 2 separate households will be able to join together to form one exclusive, extended household. But they can only be part of one extended household.
  • At the next review on 9 July, the Welsh Government will consider a range of specific options for re-opening the hospitality sector (bars and restaurants) outdoors from 13 July and self-contained holiday accommodation from 11 July.

The First Minister also issued a statement asking people to visit Wales safely and to respect local people and the natural environment as the country’s visitor economy reopens.

Northern Ireland to resume indoor weddings, civil partnerships and baptisms

Places of worship in Northern Ireland will be permitted to resume indoor ceremonies including baptisms and marriages, and local government offices and other venues will be allowed to resume marriage and civil partnership services from the same date from Friday 10 July.

It will be up to the venues to determine their precise opening dates, and the number of people attending ceremonies will be determined by the venue on a case-by-case, risk assessed basis and in adherence to relevant public health advice and industry guidance. More information will be available after the Executive meeting on Thursday.

Other Government updates

  • The guidance on how to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus, and how to report expenses to HMRC has been updated to cover information about ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests’ and ‘Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)’.
  • The Government shared a warning that thermal cameras and other such “temperature screening” products are not a reliable way to detect if people have the coronavirus.
  • Companies House has updated its online services to allow users to upload more form types, including Scottish limited and qualifying partnerships, articles and resolutions. Review further guidance for Companies House here.

VisitBritain Competitor Report (cut-off 3 July) (see report attached)

  • In the latest week, several governments have announced further support as well as extensions and tweaks to existing support measures for the sector and ancillary activity including:
    • A new AU$250m targeted package to help the creative economy in Australia
    • €4.5m in funding to promote the recovery of the tourism industry and in particular the regions by Finland incl. support for DMOs and a domestic campaign
    • The German Parliament has now approved the “voucher solution” with state backing in case of operator insolvency, and announced even more funding for a lighthouse project for rail. The temporary VAT reduction is now implemented.
    • Several measures of the Relaunch Decree now come into force and Italian regions have announced further support for the industry with e.g. a €24m tourism relaunch project by Campania
    • Russia announced support for domestic tourism product development
    • Saudi Arabia extends stimulus measures for private sector businesses struggling to recover
    • Spain extends its furlough scheme and support for the self-employed until the end of September 2020
    • The US have introduced a bill called “American Trip Act” in the Senate which aims to incentivise domestic travel
  • Business events:
    • As more destinations announce schedules for resuming larger events, the MICE sector receives additional support with a NZ$10m domestic events fund in New Zealand and Berlin announced a €10m congress fund to help the city attract more events
  • Airlines/aviation:
    • Qantas and Virgin Atlantic groups receive an initial investment of up to AU$165m to support the maintenance of the domestic flight network
    • Denmark has granted DKK260m towards the airline industry to aid, among others, the re-establishment of domestic routes by smaller airlines, and reduce airport tax.

Situation update 6 July 2020

 

Daily Government briefing, 12th June

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps gave today’s press briefing. He was joined by the chair of Network Rail, Peter Handy, and Prof Stephen Powis. The Secretary of State gave the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases. He also highlighted that transport is vital for reopening the economy but provides a challenge for controlling infection. He reiterated that if you can work from home you should continue to do so, if you can’t, you should try to avoid public transport. Shapps said that from Monday, you must wear face coverings on public transport. Transport operators will be able to refuse permission to travel where someone isn’t wearing a face covering, he says, and fines can be issued for refusal to comply. He noted that even the aviation sector wants to see a greener future and that DfT have created the Jet Zero Council, formed of environmental groups and aviation sector, will be charged with making net zero emissions possible for future flights.

During the Q+A the Sun asked about Air Bridges. Is the UK looking at air bridges, who are they in discussion with and have any countries refused the offer? Shapps said that the term “travel corridor” is more accurate and that they are actively working on travel corridors. The next review of quarantine rules is 29 June so there won’t be any announcements on changes to the rules until then. When asked what he would like to see replace the quarantine rules, Shapps said that travel corridors with countries with lower infection are a potential way forward, along with testing at ports and airports. View the full briefing here.

UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report:  Week 3

The latest results of the UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report, based on fieldwork from 1-5 June is now available.  An interesting trend this week is the nation appears more negative in mind-set (overall mood and perceptions of when ‘normality’ will return are marginally down, while the proportion of people feeling the ‘worst is still to come’ has increased significantly).  However, sentiment towards travel appears to be slightly improving e.g. in terms of likelihood to take a holiday, higher confidence in trips going ahead and marginally higher confidence in doing various leisure activities.

Other points of note:

  • 27% believe the worst has passed regarding Covid-19.  This is a slightly lower proportion than last week (29%), while a significantly higher proportion consider the ‘worst is yet to come’.
  • There continues to be little expectation things will be returning to normal anytime soon, with just 29% expecting ‘normality’ by September and 52% by December.
  • Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score is fractionally up at 2.33 (based on a 1-4 scale on how comfortable people claim to be at doing selected activities e.g. eating in a restaurant or using public transport).
  • 28% consider themselves fairly or very confident they would be able to take a holiday or short-break during the peak July/August period this year, which represents a fractional increase on last week.
  • The main reasons driving this relative lack of confidence are again led by restrictions on travel by government (52%), fewer opportunities to eat or drink out (51%) and concerns about catching Covid-19 (45%).
  • 41% expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and holidays respectively compared to last year, which is unchanged from week 2.
  • However, the proportions believing they will be taking a domestic short-break or holiday by this September is again up, albeit not significantly (23% vs 22%).
  • In terms of region to be visited between now and September, South West still leads (19%) followed by Scotland (12%), although in reality little actually separates the second to eighth ranked regions.  A clearer hierarchy of preference is visible for visits from October onwards, with South West and Scotland having more obvious leads.
  • For the summer period, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations lead with 31% and 30% shares respectively.  Cities move into second place for trips scheduled from October onwards.
  • Focusing again on the peak June-Sept period, we see a broadly even split between the leading accommodation types, although from October, hotels/motels/inns take a clear lead, with caravan/camping moving down the rankings.
  • As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.

New support for reopening and recovery of high streets

The High Streets Task Force has announced that they will provide access to tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the government’s efforts to get shops back in business safely from 15 June. This support is open to local councils and all organisations involved with high streets and will include free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.

New ONS report: Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy: April 2020

The report provides an analysis of monthly growth for the production, services and construction industries in the UK economy between March 2020 and April 2020, highlighting the early impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism’s report Pathways to Recovery published

The report was researched and written by UK Hospitality, who provide the secretariat for the group, highlighting the scale of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors and outlining a series of recommendations to help businesses recover.

Other Government updates

Industry updates

  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Centre has created an interactive map tracking COVID-19 travel regulations by country.
  • United Airlines has introduced a customer acknowledgment form for passengers to fill out when they check in to confirm they have not experienced Covid-19 related symptoms in the last 2 weeks.
  • LaLiga will join the Spanish government and the Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain (CEOE) in a new campaign to promote Spain as a safe tourist destination.

Situation update 12 June 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 12 JUNE

After all the announcements yesterday in regard to safe air travel and boat use, there is relatively little in the way of announcements today – although that will change next week with the launch of Government guidance on the safe operation of tourism and hospitality businesses and VisitEngland’s associated the “We’re Good to Go” Mark.

  • Requests for Ministerial Direction

As a point of interest, it’s worth noting that over the last couple of days the Government has published a number of Ministerial Direction requests that Permanent Secretaries have made over the last few months in regarding the support schemes that the Government has put in place. In a nutshell, the Permanent Secretaries are responsible for Departmental expenditure programmes and are required not to spend public funds where they don’t believe that they will provide value for money. So these letters are from Permanent Secretaries stating that they have no idea whether various Coronavirus business support programmes represent value for money and are asking Ministers to tell them to do it anyway (ie., if this goes badly, it’s not my fault). These Ministerial Direction request cover initiatives including the Business Interruption Loans, the Future Fund, the Bounce Back Loans and the Discretionary Fund.

Needless to say, the Government has directed the Permanent Secretaries to continue operating the support schemes.

  • North of Tyne Growth Fund

The Government has launched the North of Tyne growth Fund which is available to SMEs planning an expansion project in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland with costs of at least £134,000. The Fund is specifically open to tourism and leisure businesses. The fund will pay a capital grant of between £40,000 and £200,000 to cover up to 30% of eligible expenditure provided that the project generates increased employment in the area.

https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support/north-of-tyne-growth-fund

  • Track the R-Rate

Finally, ahead of the non-essential retail opening on Monday, here a link to the government’s latest calculations of the R-Rate which also includes a regional R rates across England. The current rates are:

England                                0.8-1.0

East of England                 0.7-0.9

London                                 0.8-1.0

Midlands                             0.8-1.0

NE and Yorkshire              0.7-1.0

North West                         0.8-1.0

South East                           0.8-1.0

South West                         0.8-1.1

This indicates that the Government has little room for manoeuvre at the moment if the relaxion of rules increases the number of infections.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk

Daily Government press briefing, 10th June 2020

The Prime Minister gave today’s press briefing. He was joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Witty. The Prime Minister shared the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases, he also explained how the 5 tests for relaxing lockdown had been met. The Prime Minister said the devolved administrations can move at the right pace for them, highlighting that the measures he announced apply to England only.

    1. On retail, he noted that it has been 82 days since the Government asked shops to close but retail businesses can reopen from Monday.
    2. Social contact – people on their own and single parent households may form a support bubble with one other household. They would then be treated as a single household when it comes to social distancing measures.
    3. From Monday, outdoor attractions which you can stay in the car for, such as safari parks and outdoor cinemas, can open. Zoos will be able to open as well as long as people can social distance.
    4. Places of worship will reopen for prayer from this weekend.

During the Q+A the first question came from a member of the public they asked if people serving food to the public should be wearing masks or gloves. Johnson says guidelines will be introduced as to how shops should open up in a COVID-19 secure way. Vallance says the Sage advice is clear. Face coverings have benefits in closed environments and touching and surface contact is a major way of spreading the disease. On the possibility of axing the two metre rule the PM was asked if it was a political decision and if he is willing to ignore his scientific advisers? Johnson says there is a balance of risk to be struck. It is important to get the rate down. Only one in 1,000 has it. But it is not down yet as far as he would like. The Daily Echo asked about the cruise industry. The Prime Minister said that he is confident that the cruise industry can return in a COVID secure way.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Parliamentary statement on the impact of COVID-19 on tourism

Key points from the statement given by Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing to the Scottish Parliament include:

  • The Scottish Government has provided a package of support worth over £2.3 billion – “going above and beyond the UK Government consequentials”.  Provided rates relief, developed grant schemes not available elsewhere in the UK and have met with and listened to businesses to understand where gaps still exist.
  • He commended the work of organisations like the Scottish Tourism Alliance and UKHospitality in representing their sectors and providing a vital bridge between the Scottish Government and businesses.
  • Kate Forbes and Ewing have written to the Chancellor to request a discussion on how they can work together to further support the sector and alleviate some of the pressures on businesses, including through a review of VAT rates.
  • He outlined that the UK Government must lead on a financial recovery plan for tourism in the UK with significant funding attached, and that they will use those consequentials for the industry in Scotland.
  • Statutory reviews of the current restrictions are required on 18 June and 9 July. As things stand just now, our hope is that the Scottish Government will be able to give the go ahead to a re-opening of the sector at the 9 July review.
    • The Tourism Secretary encouraged tourism and hospitality businesses to prepare – within appropriate safety guidelines – for re-opening on 15 July.
  • They will soon be publishing guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector that will help businesses make the necessary changes.
  • He admitted that there will be a key role for the industry in building confidence in communities who may understandably be hesitant to welcome back visitors.
  • The Scottish Government is setting up a Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce to take forward strategic oversight of, and provision of advice on, recovery plans in response to the COVID-19 impact on Scottish tourism and hospitality. This taskforce will be responsible for ensuring that the tourism recovery plan is fully coordinated with the wider Scottish Government and other recovery plans. It will also take into account wider actions being taken by the UK Government, other devolved administrations and international best practice, including that of the European Union.
    • looking at recovery needs for the sector
    • working with devolved administrations and UK Government on UK level interventions
    • developing a domestic visitor marketing campaign
    • clear public messaging around the safe recovery of tourism and the economic benefits for communities

Read more here

Other Government updates

Industry updates

  • From 15 June  Gatwick Airport will expand its hours of operation and resume activity in its North Terminal with EasyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Belavia, Vueling and Blue Island flights.
  • Thames Clippers will resume service on 15 June with social distancing and cleaning measures in place on piers and on-board the vessels.
  • Eastern Airways will launch a daily weekday flight from Leeds Bradford to Newquay on 9 July.
  • Jamaica will reopen its borders to international tourists on 15 June.

Situation update 10 June 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 10 JUNE

  • Coronavirus Safe Notice – Non-essential retail businesses able to open from next Monday, provided that they follow government guidelines to keep staff and customers as safe as possible, including undertaking a risk assessment. To help reassure customers, the Government has produced a notice for shops to display that shows customers that they are operating in accordance with these guidelines. The notice (attached) informs customers that the operator has:
    • carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and shared the results with the people who work there
    • cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance
    • taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home
    • taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace
    • done everything practical to manage transmission risks where people cannot be 2m apart
  • Zoos and Safari Parks to Reopen on 15th June – It is expected that, at today’s Coronavirus briefing, the Prime Minister will announce that safari parks and zoos will be able to reopen on 15th June as long as they follow social distancing rules. It is expected that indoor attractions at zoos such as reptile houses will have to remain closed and cafes will only be open for takeaway food and drinks.
  • Security Advice for Businesses – With the rise in the number of businesses going into administration or having to restructure, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure has developed guidance for businesses owners on how to managing security risks during this process and protect and/or destroy sensitive information including personal data. I’ve attached a copy of this two-page guidance which is a good checklist for businesses of all sizes if they are facing significant changes.
  • Parents returning to work after extended leave eligible for furlough – The Government has previously announced that, to enable the introduction of part-time furloughing, claims from July onwards will be restricted to employers registered as being on the Furlough scheme prior to 10 June. However, it has now amended this requirement to allow parents currently on statutory maternity and paternity leave to be eligible for the furlough scheme if they return to work after the 10 June closure date.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/parents-returning-to-work-after-extended-leave-eligible-for-furlough

  • Procurement Policy

The Cabinet Office has produced new guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity. This guidance requires public bodies to:

    • Review their contract portfolio, including where they are providing any contractual relief due to COVID-19 and, if appropriate to maintain delivery of critical services, continue or commence measures in line with PPN 02/20.
    • Work in partnership with their suppliers and develop transition plans to exit from any relief as soon as reasonably possible. This should include agreeing contract variations if operational requirements have changed significantly.
    • Work in partnership with their suppliers, openly and pragmatically, during this transition to ensure contracts are still relevant and sustainable and deliver value for money over the medium to long term.
    • Continue to pay suppliers as quickly as possible, on receipt of invoices or in accordance with pre-agreed milestone dates, to maintain cash flow and protect jobs.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0420-recovery-and-transition-from-covid-19

  • Digital Boost Platform Launch – Supported by DCMS, a new platform called Digital Boost has been launched to provide SMEs with free one-to-one digital support. This support includes:
    • Online Marketing
    • Design and Brand work
    • Content strategy

https://www.digitalboost.org.uk/?utm_source=DCMS&utm_medium=Email

  • Ireland brings Forward Opening Date – Ireland has brought forward the opening date for it’s tourism industry to 29th June. As part of this announcement, Failte Ireland has produced a range of guidelines for tourism industry to ensure their safe re-opening.
  • Hotels & Guesthouses
  • Self-Catering businesses
  • Caravan & Camping businesses
  • Visitor Attractions
  • Activity Providers
  • B&Bs & Historic Houses
  • Restaurants & Cafes

These guidelines are available on the following link

https://www.failteireland.ie/Utility/News-Library/Failte-Ireland-publishes-operational-guidelines-wi.aspx

Daily Government press briefing, 9th June 2020

Today’s briefing was led by Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Sarah Albon, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Sharma confirmed that retail outlets that have previously been closed will be permitted to open from next Monday 15 June. Businesses will need to complete a Covid-secure risk assessment and are asked to display publicly a sign confirming that they are compliant with health and safety guidance. Further guidance for hospitality businesses such as restaurants and pubs will be published as soon as possible, and the Government continues working towards 4 July 2020 as a target date to reopen the hospitality and service sectors.

This week, Sharma will lead five roundtable sessions with representatives from the five business-focused working groups to engage with the business community and discuss plans for economic recovery.

Q&A:

  • The first question was about when people can book domestic holidays, including camping and self-catering. Sharma said that the economy would be reopening in a phased, careful manner and reiterated the date of 4 July at the earliest.
  • Sharma said that the further guidance would be published in advance of 4 July in order to give businesses time to prepare.
  • Sharma was asked about possibly changing from 2m to 1m social distancing in order to help hospitality businesses. He said that the 2m had been recommended by SAGE, and would be kept under review. He recognised that some countries had reduced to 1m but said they were further along in their reopening.
  • Responding to a question on levelling up, the Business Secretary said he did not want to pre-empt any future announcements but that the Government was still committed to the levelling up agenda.

You can watch the full briefing here.

VisitBritain’s competitor activity report

Summary of highlights since the last update:

  • Many countries are now well into plans for reopening the tourism sector, which means they are starting to target domestic visitors proactively to help businesses leverage domestic visitor spend for recovery. We have seen three more domestic campaign launches in the past week in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark. In Japan, the process of contracting for their domestic stimulus campaign has revealed a big budget.
  • Health & safety: The French Government has released an umbrella campaign for many sectors. Rather than a logo with a focus on safety, it show the focus on the commitment of the company to comply with the required regulation.
  • Germany announced a comprehensive economic and social stimulus package of €130bn last week with blanket VAT rate reductions and bridging grants for SMEs which have been particularly hard hit (incl. tourism). €50bn of the package is earmarked for future-proofing the country with better e-mobility, use of hydrogen energy, investment in AI and quantum computing.
  • Iceland and Ireland are among the countries which have extended financial support into later in the summer.
  • The US has announced measures to allow more flexibility to small businesses using the Paycheck Protection Programme, and the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act will require insurance companies to offer plans covering business interruption losses due to future pandemics or public health emergencies. Importantly, event cancellation insurance is a component of this bill.
  • Spain hopes to secure considerable funds from the EU for tourism and automotive, and plans incl. making the former more socioeconomically and environmentally sustainable.
  • The Irish Tourism Recovery Taskforce has presented the Government with 8 asks to help speed up the recovery process for the tourism sector incl. earlier opening and a move to 1m distance.
  • Further support for the regions, strategic asset protection and more: In Italy, the Minister has proposed a tourism recovery plan for the South (a national plan is in progress) and a Business Events roundtable was held. In New Zealand, the Tourism Minister has allocated funding to regional tourism organisations and the Strategic Assets Protection Programme is now open for applications.

UK Visa and Immigration services enter second phase of reopening on 22 June

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) began a phased reopening of a limited number of visa application centres (VACs) and immigration services on 1 June. An additional number of VACs will open on 22 June, where local conditions allow. Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Services will reopen in phases. Where services are resuming, existing customers will be contacted.

Visa customers and British nationals overseas who want to apply for a passport can find a VAC in their country, or check the status of VACs outside of the UK here:

  • TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
  • VFS global for all other countries

Visa applicants in the UK can check the status of VACs and available services near them.

Find further guidance on applying for a visa or passport during the pandemic.

Self-isolation rules specific to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Guidance on the new border rules has been updated to reflect that travellers are subject to different self-isolation rules and penalties depending on whether they are travelling to:

Fáilte Ireland publishes sector-specific guidelines for reopening tourism on 29 June

Fáilte Ireland has published operational guidelines for the tourism industry to ensure the safe reopening of tourism businesses on 29 June. Sector-specific guidelines are available for:

Digital Boost platform launch

Supported by DCMS, a new platform called Digital Boost launches today. The Covid-19 crisis has presented many challenges for small businesses, particularly in building digital capability. The platform will host a community of digital experts, who will offer one-to-one digital support to small businesses free of charge.

Industry updates

  • Vacation Rentals, the parent company of brands including Hoseasons and Cottages.com, is now offering refunds for cancelled bookings following an announcement from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that it would start investigating cancellations and refunds in the holiday accommodation sector.
  • Ryanair is waving change fees for all flights booked in July or August this year. Customers will be able to exchange for flights departing through 31 December 2020.
  • Cunard has cancelled all sailings for the ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria through 1 November, and for the ship Queen Elizabeth through 23 November.
  • Austrian Airlines has secured a €600 million rescue package from the Austrian national government and the Lufthansa Group.

Situation update 9 June 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 9th JUNE

  • Temporary Concessions – The Home Office have announced a number of temporary concessions for people who are unable to meet the requirements of the Family Immigration Rules to enter or remain in the UK due to coronavirus. These concessions relate to:
    • People’s whose wedding or civil ceremony has been delayed due to coronavirus
    • People who have experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus
    • People who are unable to provide specified documents
    • People who are unable to take a language test

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

  • New Visa Factsheets – The Home Office has also published three new factsheets (attached) to provide guidance for  visa customers outside the UK, visa holders in the UK and firms sponsoring foreign nationals.
  • Sending Forms to Companies House – Companies House has introduced a temporary service to that allows businesses to upload documents that previously had to be sent in. This includes documents such as
    • Applying for a rectification by the registrar of companies
    • Correcting a director’s date of birth which was incorrectly stated on incorporation
    • Applying for rectification of a change of registered address
    • Objecting to a request to rectify the register
    • Applying to remove material about a director
    • Applying to change a company’s disputed registered office address

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sending-your-forms-to-companies-house-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak

  • Local Lockdowns – To keep on top of local outbreaks, the government is establishing the Joint Biosecurity Centre which will sit alongside SAGE and monitor the spread of coronavirus across the country. The idea is that it will operate a local alert system that warns the CMO and Government of regional spikes in infection and implements local lockdowns to bring the infection rate back under control. So with the possibility of local lockdowns occurring at some stage, it is important for businesses to consider how to handle this in their booking terms and conditions and to convey this to customers when they book so that both parties are agreed as to what happens if the customer cannot get to the business or if a lockdown occurs while the customer is staying at the destination.

 

Daily Government press briefing, 2nd June 2020

Today’s briefing came from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. He was joined by Prof John Newton, coordinator of the national testing effort. The briefing focussed on a health update, testing and the PHE report and investigation to find out why some groups are more at risk from COVID-19.During the Q+A, George Parker from the FT asked about air bridges to countries with lower COVID-19 rates. Hancock replied that the air bridge work is being done by Home Office and DfT. He also asked about the scientific rationale for having a quarantine for people coming into the UK from countries with low rates of coronavirus, like Greece. Newton said that anyone coming into the country should be treated as an unknown and that would justify quarantine. You can watch the full briefing here.

VisitBritain’s consumer sentiment tracker results

VisitBritain has commissioned a weekly tracking survey to understand domestic intent to take short breaks and holidays both within the UK and abroad, with particular focus around the current barriers and concerns around travel and how these will evolve over time. The survey will address: the likelihood of UK residents to travel; when and where they plan to go; specific trip details such as accommodation type and activities undertaken and the type of reassurances they’re seeking from the sector. The survey will be repeated across a 13-week period with the first wave results published on 1 June 2020. The survey results will be published weekly on visitbritain.org. Download the report.

VisitBritain’s competitor activity report – Summary of highlights since the last update:

  • There has been further easing of lockdown measures in Austria, Australia, France, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and Switzerland. Steps towards relaxing restrictions include permission for larger gatherings of people, re-opening of businesses and tourist attractions, and more freedom for citizens to travel domestically. In Australia, New South Wales is now open to interstate travellers, and some Russian regions have now lifted quarantine for domestic visitors from the most affected areas. São Paulo state and Rio De Janeiro city also announced reopening plans.
  • Australia announced a job regeneration plan for economic recovery, alongside Canada, China and Japan announcing widespread investments and fiscal stimulus.
  • Tourism has also been a specific beneficiary. Brazilian tourism enterprises can now access part of the first instalment of the General Tourism Fund. New investment was announced for Canadian provincial marketing organisations. The Dutch emergency package to support jobs and the economy has been extended, and includes a new scheme for SMEs including hospitality, leisure, events and theatres. Japan’s economic package includes an earmarked ¥1.68 trillion to stimulate consumption and help tourism related industries. Singapore’s new Marketing Partnership Programme aims to support the international marketing initiatives of hotels, attractions, inbound travel agents and the MICE sector.
  • German plans to support the gastronomy sector have been put into law, and Ireland’s Bloom at Home will showcase and support food, drink and horticulture industries.
  • Denmark and Norway will allow holiday travel between both nations from 15 June. Denmark will also open travel to Germany and Iceland at that time, and is in talks with Sweden and Finland. Italy’s Europe Minister has called for all Schengen borders to be opened together to allow inbound travel to Italy from June 3. Spain will pilot the entry of tourists via safe routes, before lifting restrictions to members of Schengen.
  • Politicians across markets still tend to be advising citizens to holiday domestically this summer.

Other Government updates

Travel updates

  • From tomorrow (3 June), Italy will open its borders without a quarantine requirement to tourists from the EU states, states that are party to the Schengen Agreement, the United Kingdom, Andorra and Monaco.
  • P&O Cruises has announced an extension to their pause in operations until 15 October 2020.

Situation update 2 June 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 2 JUNE 2020

Only a couple of things today but they are significant for many tourism businesses as they relate to the FCA seeking a legal ruling on Business Interruption Insurance and new guidance on outdoor recreation and sports which support a lot more businesses being able to be opened. The details of the Government’s new quarantine proposals which are due to come into force in  just six days were also due to be published today but I’m still awaiting these and will send them through as soon as I get them.

  • Draft Guidance for Insurance Companies – As part of its investigation into Coronavirus related business interruption insurance, the FCA have published draft guidance on their expectations for insurers and insurance intermediaries when handling claims and complaints for business interruption policies during the test case. The guidance highlights the steps firms should be taking to:
    • identify the potential implications of the test case on their decisions to reject claims
    • keep policyholders informed about the test case and its implications for policies, claims and any settlement offers
    • treat policyholders fairly when the test case is resolved

https://www.fca.org.uk/publications/guidance-consultations/business-interruption-insurance-test-case-draft-firms

In addition, that have provided an update in where they are in terms of their legal case – they have reviewed over 500 relevant policies from 40 insurers and identified a sample of 17 policy wordings that capture the majority of the key issues that could be in dispute – and set out a timetable for the court case which is scheduled for the second half of July

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/update-fca-test-case-validity-business-interruption-claims

  • Outdoor Sport and Recreation Guidance – DCMS has produced more detailed guidance regarding outdoor sport and recreation facilities that are now able to open.  For the facilities allowed to open, each operator is to make their own decision about when their facilities are ready to open and how they can be operated safely. The guidance provides information on different sports and also on the operation of facilities such as stables and sports clubs (including sailing clubs).

Importantly for outdoor recreational businesses, the guidance states that: Personal training or coaching is permitted if outside and if people are a minimum of 2 metres apart and providing there are gatherings of no more than 6 people from different households.

Note that outdoor gyms, playgrounds and outdoor and indoor swimming pools will remain closed to the public and that operators that do open need to ensure that disable people to access the facilities.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-phased-return-of-outdoor-sport-and-recreation

Here is the associated guidance for businesses on how they should operate safety in order to protect the health of customers and staff.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/guidance-for-providers-of-outdoor-facilities-on-the-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation

And finally if you are a coach/trainer, you are allowed to provide lessons to multiple groups in a single day provided that you do so in gatherings of no more than 6 at a time, are always outside, and you are maintaining social distancing.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/guidance-for-personal-trainers-and-coaches-on-the-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation

  • Hotel Solutions Briefing – I’ve attached a copy of new briefing from Hotel Solutions which pulls together a range of research and initiatives that are happening across the tourism and hospitality sector at the moment.

 

Daily Government press briefing, 26th May 2020

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and he was joined by Professor John Newton, coordinator of the national testing effort. The briefing focused on the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), a new drug trial and the latest testing numbers.

Phil Coleman from the News and Star newspaper in Cumbria asked what tools will be available to local health officials, given the release from lockdown will be nationwide but there may be regional outbreaks. He also noted that local health leaders in Cumbria are concerned about a regional flare-up in the Lake District brought in by visitors – the Lake District welcomed 47 million visitors last year, but the local health infrastructure can accommodate 0.5 million. Would the government consider regional lockdowns? Hancock replied that regional lockdowns in response to flare-ups will feature in future plans.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Latest guidance on accessing green spaces

Guidance on accessing green spaces in England has been updated to include a provision for visiting ticketed gardens in line with social distancing guidelines.

Outdoor retail reopening 1 June, non-essential retail reopening on 15 June

On Monday the Prime Minister confirmed that outdoor markets and car showrooms will be allowed to reopen on 1 June, and that all other non-essential retail including shops and department stores will begin reopening on 15 June.

Official guidance has been updated for shops, branches and other retail spaces on working safely during COVID-19. Opening will be contingent on businesses following this guidance, and the Government will have the power to compel compliance.

Updated guidance on entering the UK and 14-day quarantine

Following the Government’s announcement on Friday, new information has been published to clarify the latest rules to enter the UK and the full list of exemptions to the 14-day quarantine requirement.

£50 million fund to support recovery of high streets

The Government has announced the new Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, making £50 million available for councils to support the safe reopening of local high streets and other public spaces.

Other Government updates

Travel updates

  • Portsmouth International Port has installed a thermal scanner to scan passengers’ temperatures before boarding cruises and ferries.
  • Ryanair will restore 40% of flights from 1 July, subject to Government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted and effective public health measures being implemented at airports.
  • LATAM Airlines Group, one of Latin America’s largest air carriers, have filed for bankruptcy.
  • Denmark on 25 May reopened its borders to individuals with permanent residence in the Nordic countries or Germany, permitting travel under four defined circumstances.
  • Spain has announced that the country will welcome international visitors starting in July, and that major professional sports leagues including La Liga will be allowed to resume during the week of 8 June.

Situation update 26 May 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 26 MAY (duplication with TIER removed)

  • Revised Discretionary Fund Guidance – The guidance to Local Authorities on the £617m Discretionary Fund has been amended to that businesses that are eligible for SEISS are still eligible for support through this fund (copy of the new guidance is attached). This is a considerable step forward as it means that B&Bs, self-catering operators and other small tourism businesses operated under sole trader arrangements are now eligible to apply for grants from this fund.
  • Letter on Quarantining – Over the weekend we supported a Airlines UK letter to the prime Minister (attached) pointing out the serious damage that Quarantining will have on tourism and asking the Government to immediately look towards a more targeted, risk-based approach to screening of passengers such as “air bridges”, which would see the controlled reestablishment of air routes and overseas travel, where it is safe to do so, and as soon as possible to any low-risk country.
  • Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin CH and Nick de Bois Appointed Chairs of VisitBritain and the Visit England Advisory Board – Not quite Coronavirus related but the Government has announced that Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin and Nick de Bois have respectively been appointed as the Chair of VisitBritain and the Visit England Advisory Board. They replace Steve Ridgeway and Denis Wormwell in these positions. A brief bio on both appointments is available on the following links.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-secretary-of-state-has-appointed-rt-hon-sir-patrick-mcloughlin-ch-as-chair-of-the-british-tourist-authority

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-secretary-of-state-has-appointed-nick-de-bois-as-chair-of-the-visit-england-advisory-board

  • Up to £15 million to support the Citizens Advice – Due to the increased demand for information and advice related to Coronavirus, the Government is allocating up to £15m in additional funding to support the work of Citizen’s advice

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/up-to-15-million-to-support-the-citizens-advice-service-during-covid-19-pandemic

Daily Government press briefing – 13th May 2020

Today’s briefing came from Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer. The briefing covered a situation update on health, followed by Jenrick outlining of how the government will safely reopen the housing market. During the Q+A  Michael from London asked about support for the theatre and the performing arts given the closure of theatres. Jenrick replied by praising the arts sector and outlined the support the government is providing individual and that the Culture Secretary is working with the sector on how social distancing can be applied when theatres do open up. He was also asked by the Dundee Courier if the Treasury will continue to fund the furlough scheme for Scotland if it needs to keep people off work longer? Jenrick replied that the scheme will continue to reflect the needs of working people across the UK and there is no cliff edge.

You can watch the full briefing here.

New Ministerial taskforces announced

Five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to develop plans for how and when closed sectors can reopen safely. Each taskforce will lead on developing new COVID-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses, where and when it is safe to do so. The taskforces will look at the following sectors:

  • pubs and restaurants (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy)
  • non-essential retail (including salons) (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy);
  • recreation and leisure, including tourism, culture and heritage, libraries, entertainment and sport (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
  • places of worship, including faith, community and public buildings (Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
  • international aviation, reflecting the unique challenges that sector is facing (Department for Transport)

The Tourism Minister today confirmed that the Tourism Industry Council will be repurposed as the Visitor Economy group to feed into the Recreation and Leisure task force, chaired by the Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden CBE. The group will look at the practicalities of coming out of lockdown and recovery.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opened for applications today

Latest guidance says that people will be able to make their claim on a specified date between 13-18 May, based on their Unique Tax Reference number. HMRC has assigned eligible self-employed individuals a specific date to apply on and this can be checked on HMRC’s online checker. Applications cannot be made before the individual’s allocated claim date but can make a claim after that day. The aim is for payment to reach bank accounts by 25 May 2020, or within six working days of completing a claim.

Other Government updates

    • introducing new cycle paths or extending existing paths
    • making high-streets streets pedestrianised or introducing one-way traffic
    • separate entry and exit routes in shops
    • changing car parking layouts
    • widening footpaths, temporary barriers or spray markings outside shops to support queueing
    • signs to encourage people to wait to allow others to pass on footpaths
  • New guidance on spending time outdoors is available with details on a range of outdoor activities which will be allowed in England from 13 May 2020 subject to social distancing rules.
  • Guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England has been updated in light of the announcements this week.

Situation update 13 May 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE (duplication with TIER removed)

  • Tourism Society Call for Leadership and Co-ordination – The Tourism Society has published a paper (attached) calling for leadership and coordination for tourism in England through and beyond Covid-19. The key action points for Government are to:
  1. Reinforce and reorientate the leadership role of VisitEngland
  2. Strengthen the resilience and capacity of DMOs
  3. Establish a functioning network for coordination
  4. Develop a clear tourism strategy for England
  5. Review and consolidate delivery structures
  • Guidance on Planning – MHCLG has published an update on planning matters, including temporary measures to make it easier to operate the planning system.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-planning-update

  • Guidance on Holiday Pay and Entitlement – BEIS has produced new guidance on how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance. The Guidance is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who:
  • continue to work
  • have been placed on furlough as part of the Job Retention Scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/holiday-entitlement-and-pay-during-coronavirus-covid-19

 

Daily Government press briefing – 7th May 2020

Today’s briefing was led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, joined by Sir Ian Diamond, Chief Statistician, ONS and Dr. Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer. After reviewing the UK’s latest coronavirus numbers, Raab reiterated the 5 tests the country must pass to begin reopening and noted that the PM will outline a “roadmap” for moving forward on Sunday.

View the full press briefing here.

Government updates

UNWTO reports that international tourism could fall 60-80% in 2020

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has released a report on international tourism numbers in the first quarter of 2020. Key findings:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a 22% fall in international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2020.
  • This translates to 67 million fewer arrivals compared to the first three months of 2019, and a worldwide loss of US$80 billion.
  • The crisis could lead to an annual decline of 60-80% when compared to 2019. This estimate depends on three possible timelines for the gradual easing of travel restrictions and reopening of international borders:
    • Scenario 1 (-58%) based on gradual reopening in early July
    • Scenario 2 (-70%) based on gradual reopening in early September
    • Scenario 3 (-78%) based on gradual reopening in early December

Germany will allow exhibitions to resume on a local basis

This week the German government outlined a plan to reopen. The plan classifies professional exhibitions (“Messen”) separately from mass gatherings (“Grossveranstaltungen”). While mass gatherings like festivals and concerts remain banned until at least 31 August, exhibitions are listed among those activities that may resume as soon as states determine they are able to operate within safety guidelines.

Other industry updates

  • Shanghai’s city legislature has passed a law enabling overseas companies to host trade shows in Shanghai without collaborating with local companies. This law went into effect on 1 May.
  • International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) reported a total loss of €1.86 billion last quarter. They are planning a “meaningful return to service” in July 2020 at the earliest, and expect they will not return to 2019 levels until 2023.
  • Air France-KLM Group reported a net loss of €1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2020.
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines reports it has raised more than $2 billion and can now withstand more than a year of suspended cruises.
  • Norwegian Air shareholders backed its financial survival plan on Monday, with more than 95% of voters supporting the conversion of nearly $1 billion of debt into equity and raising almost $39 million cash from the sale of new shares.
  • Updates on cruise line activity:
    • Princess Cruises has extended its global pause on activity through the end of the summer season.
    • Holland America Line has cancelled all Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England routes for 2020.
    • Seabourn has extended its pause on activity until at least October.

Situation update 7 May 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 7 MAY

  • Check if You Can Get Tax-Free Childcare and 30 Hours Free Childcare – Following on from yesterday’s announcement, the Government has produced guidance on whether employees or the self-employed are entitled to this benefit.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-get-tax-free-childcare-and-30-hours-free-childcare-during-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Coronavirus Act 2020: Status Table – The Government has published a handy guide as to the status of various provisions of the Coronavirus Act. This will be particularly useful for tracking the status of the provisions as the lock-down ends and the process of reopening the country starts. For example it tracks powers to issue directions relating to events, gatherings and premises, tax and pension provisions and the protection of business tenancies.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-2020-status/coronavirus-act-2020-status-table

  • Leaving Lockdown Together – The Welsh Secretary has penned an article on the importance of all parts of the UK leaving lock-down together rather than having a regional or national approach. This has obviously been done to convey the official view of Government rather than simply being the musings of the Welsh Secretary so read the article as a policy document.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/leaving-lockdown-together-why-we-are-better-united-against-coronavirus

 

Daily Government press briefing – 06/05/20

Today’s briefing came from the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. He was joined by Prof Dame Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor at the MoD. Today’s briefing highlighted that ONS figures show the UK has overtaken Italy as worst-hit European country. Raab reiterated the 5 tests and that the Prime Minister will outline the lockdown exit strategy later this week, saying that the second phase will require learning a new normal but the government will ensure that the steps are sustainable. He also noted that certain groups were using the current crisis to engage in cyber-crime for the purpose of profit and for espionage, cyber experts in the UK and the US have published a joint statement today warning of the threat. This can be accessed here.

During the Q+A session it was asked whether Brexit negotiations should continue under the current circumstances, Raab replied that the UK and EU should reduce uncertainty by reaching an agreement by the end of the year. You can watch the full briefing here.

Government updates

  • Update on how local authorities have received and distributed funding to support small and medium businesses in England during coronavirus.
  • Isle of Wight residents will be the first to get access to a new contact tracing app as part of government action to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Travel industry updates

  • Virgin Atlantic has announced a planned reduction of 3,150 jobs across all functions, ending its operation at Gatwick Airport and that Virgin Holidays will become Virgin Atlantic Holidays due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
  • Carnival cruises plan to relaunch cruises with a phased approach with North American service this summer from 1 August with a total of eight ships from Miami. All other operations in North American and Australian markets will be paused until 31 August.
  • Major hotel and lodging companies continued to announce enhanced cleaning regimens to protect and reassure guests including Marriott , Hyatt, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Airbnb.
  • The following US airlines have all announced they will require passengers to wear face masks – American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United.

Member updates

  • The New West End Company has shared a reopening guide for retail businesses with their members. The document provides operational recommendations of how to operate within social distancing guidelines, staff training and wellbeing as well as links to key guidance.
  • The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has shared the report from MIA mentioned during today’s meeting regarding social distancing impacts on the business events industry (also attached). Key findings include –
    • 82% of venues can operate with social distancing measures in place but 3/4 believe their capacity would reduce by 40% to accommodate this.
    • 59% would not break- even and there would be around 8,500 job losses.
  • The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has today launched its latest report titled ‘The UK Events Report’, which provides an in-depth examination into the £70bn industry, providing jobs for 700,000 people and how it will deliver the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Please find press release attached.

Situation update 5 May 2020

In the UK there were 84,803 coronavirus tests were carried out yesterday and there have been 29,427 UK coronavirus deaths. The ONS figures show UK has overtaken Italy as worst-hit European country.

 

Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 4 May

Daily Government press briefing

Matt Hancock led today’s Government briefing alongside John Newton and Jonathan Van-Tam, the briefing focussed on a health and testing update, you can watch the full briefing here.

 

Government updates

 

 

Industry updates

  • Passengers on Eurostar services between London and mainland Europe must wear a face mask from 4 May. The train operator said a face covering should be worn at all stations and on-board, in line with guidelines announced by the French and Belgian governments.
  • World Routes has been postponed with new dates now confirmed – 14-16 November in Milan.
  • TUI China has resumed business operations, offering domestic tours for holidaymakers in China.

 

Situation update 4 May 2020

There have been steady declines in the number of people in hospital and in critical care beds. There is a slow and consistent decline in the 7 day rolling average of deaths.

Please also find attached Ireland’s reopening plan, the Irish Government has set this out in five phases. Please see a summary of the key measures in the areas of public health measures, workforce, retail and tourism and leisure below.

EXTRACT FROM THE TOURISM ALLIANCE CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 4 MAY

  • 85 MPs write to Chancellor Demanding Further Tourism Support – 85 MPs have written a joint letter to the Chancellor (attached) to express their concern that more needs to be done to support tourism businesses. Specifically they ask that:
    • Business rates relief should be extended up to £150,000
    • The Furlough Scheme should be extended beyond the lock-down
    • The Furlough Scheme needs to be more flexible
    • VAT rebates should be introduced
    • Tourism VAT should be cut to 5%
    • Tailored support should be available to tourism businesses that are currently missing out.
  • Support for Zoos and Aquariums – Zoos and aquariums are able to apply for a grant of up to £100,000 to maintain the welfare of animals. The amount a operator can receive will be based on the animals’ needs and can cover animal-care costs that cannot be lowered such as:
    • keepers’ wages
    • animal feed and bedding
    • veterinary care and medicines
    • electricity and heating
    • waste removal

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-zoos-and-aquariums

  • People 1st COVID-19: skills impact & recovery survey – People 1st are exploring the impact of Covid-19 on the sector from a skills perspective to look at how best they can prepare workforces for the recovery. There would like to work with Tourism Alliance members to ensure they reflect the views and experiences of members within this research. What’s coming through strongly is the need for support and practical, employer-led solutions to help protect jobs, retain skills and build consumer confidence.

To build on these insights, please complete this  ‘COVID-19 skills impact & recovery survey’, which aims to provide further intelligence from those at the forefront dealing with skills and workforce challenges. The results of this survey will feed directly into a revised skills plan under the Tourism Sector Deal – underpinned by a strategic skills recovery plan for the industry-led skills board – as well as providing critical intelligence to government on the support and measures that are required for businesses to not just survive, but to prosper long term.

I’ve also attached their attached a communications toolkit, providing email copy and social media posts that you can use to help outline the importance of taking part which can be used to help encourage your members to share their views.

  • WTTC Vision & Recommendations for Travel & Tourism Recovery – The WTTC has outlined a plan for what the “new normal” will look like for global tourism as countries begin to end their COVID-19 lockdowns and ease travel restrictions. The plan includes critical steps and coordinated actions, including new standards and protocols, which offer a safe and responsible road to recovery for the global Travel & Tourism sector as consumers start planning trips again.
    • Safe and Seamless Traveller Experience
    • Mapping Signposts to Recovery
    • Global Standards for the New Normal
    • Sharing Experiences and Lessons Learnt

https://wttc.org/en-gb/COVID-19/Recovery-Post-COVID-19

The Tourism Alliance has also brought the following updates to our attention, correct as of 20/04/2020:

  • Future Fund Preliminary Guidance – The Government has published Preliminary Guidance on the £1.25bn Future Fund which includes a £500 million investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by Coronavirus and £750 million of grants and loans for SMEs focusing on research and development. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund. The scheme will launch in May and issue convertible loans of between £125k and £5m to eligible businesses. The criteria at the moment are:
    • your business is based in the UK
    • your business can attract the equivalent match funding from third party private investors and institutions
    • your business has previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third party investors in the last 5 years.
  • Office for National Statistics Webinars on the International Passenger Survey – ONS have announced that the ‘Improvements to the International Passenger Survey methods’ workshop meetings that they had scheduled before Coronavirus have been reorganised as a series of three webinars.  These webinars will feature a range of presentations outlining the upcoming improvements to methodology and other work ONS is undertaking on the quality of the outputs. There will also be time to raise questions on the IPS work and discuss Covid-19 related issues.  They are an excellent opportunity for inbound and outbound businesses to hear about the improvements being made and ask any questions you have.

The dates are:

Tuesday 28th April 2020 – 2pm – 3.30pm (predominantly England/ UK focussed)

Wednesday 29th April 2020 – 1.30pm – 3pm (predominantly Scotland focussed)

Thursday 30th April 2020 – 1pm – 2.30pm (predominantly Wales focussed)

If you would like to attend any of these events, please email Daisie Hutchinson at ONS  daisie.hutchinson@ons.gov.uk stating which webinars you would like to attend.

Summary of Government updates and analysis correct as of 13/04/2020

Please find a summary of Government updates from over the weekend and an update on competitor government analysis below.

  • Over the weekend the press briefings focussed mainly on health updates. On 13 April social distancing was discussed, SAGE will review the effectiveness of social distancing measures on Thursday, but there is no expectation that measures will be lifted at this point. On lifting the restrictions, Dominic Raab said that the evidence suggested that we are still going through the peak of the crisis, and that the successful social distancing measures should continue while necessary.
  • Additional funding has been provided to the Northern Irish, and Scottish Governments. This is in addition to the government backed loan scheme, and will be used to assist the devolved nations in tackling the crisis. This is part of a wider £14bn boost to the NHS and public services.
  • The CMA blocked an airline booking merger between Sabre and Farelogix.
  • A change to Universal Credit applications means that those wishing to claim during this time will no longer need to call DWP in the process. A bolstered frontline team will proactively call claimants if they need to check any of the information provided as part of the claim.
  • Additional details published on the charity support scheme. The Chancellor announced a total of £60 million in Barnett Consequentials for all the devolved administrations as a result of the £370 million funding allocated to charities in England. This is broken down as follows:
    • £30 million for the Scottish Government
    • £20 million for Welsh Government
    • £10 million for the Northern Ireland Executive
  • The DCMS Select Committee is calling for evidence from DCMS sectors affected by COVID-19. You can submit evidence until Friday 1 May 2020.
  • Over 3,000 British travellers currently stranded in India will get home on an additional 12 charter flights which have opened for bookings.

Guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) is attached. There are two fact sheets one for sponsors and one for visa holders and short-term residents in the UK.

We are also pleased to share VisitBritain’s latest update on competitor government activity (cut of date for info was 8 April). It now includes insights from 28 countries – new additions are Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Iceland, Sweden and Turkey.

Of particular note:

  • The discussion around cash flow/liquidity is ongoing in many countries, especially around the legally required refunds and since the last update, Germany has worked out a voucher solution, following the example of France, Italy, Belgium etc.
  • New economic packages to weather COVID-19 impact have been announced, with Japan having presented an significant one on 7 April (worth 20% of its economic output and fiscal measures are reported to be double the amount released in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008).
  • The focus on support for the industry with a particular focus on SMEs and measures to keep people in work/compensate for losses incurred is a theme running through most responses.  Many are tweaking their initial response packages to allow for better access to grants/loans particularly for smaller and middle-sized companies, e.g. Germany has increased state guarantees to 100% for its KfW (German development bank) loans.
  • The first countries are now also looking at stimulus for domestic travel once circumstances allow for it, e.g. Icelandic adult residents will receive a combined ISK1.5bn (£8.4m) worth of travel vouchers valid for domestic travel from the government, in cooperation with the Icelandic Travel Industry Association
  • In some countries politicians are participating in webinars for the tourism industry, e.g. in Switzerland and also in Australia with the Prime Minister in attendance.

 

Situation update correct as of 09/06/2020

  • Change to the Furloughed Workers Rules

The Government has reversed it’s position on workers not being able to undertake paid employment if they are furloughed. So if you furlough a worker, they can, subject to any provisions in their employment contract, go and get another job during the furlough period. One of the main reasons it was brought in to help with labour shortages in key areas such as harvesting crops and providing care workers but there is no restriction on the type of paid work that can be undertaken

  • Home Office Requests Flexibility from Licensing Authorities

Home Office Minister, Kit Malthouse has written to the Chairs of Licensing Committees (letter attached) asking them to take a pragmatic and more flexible approach when considering the application of licensing conditions and rules during the current period including exercising discretion when considering non-payment or late payment of an annual premises licence fee or a late-night levy charge. I’ve suggested to DCMS that they may like to consider this approach with gaming licenses to support businesses that are now closed such as amusement arcades in seaside destinations.

  • Self-catering Support Website

PASC has set up a website to provide support and information for self-catering businesses regardless of whether they are members: https://www.pascuk.co.uk/covid-19

Summary of latest Government briefing (06/04/2020)

  • Dominic Raab, Angela McLean and Professor Chris Whitty chaired todays press conference, the majority of the briefing focussed on a health care update. They also updated that Foreign and Commonwealth Office is working with the airlines to help British Citizens return home. Flights have also been chartered, and repatriations have also been made from cruise ships. Raab confirmed they are doing everything possible to return anyone who is yet to return home to the UK.
  • The full update can be seen here.

Latest Government advice and links

Situation update 6 April 2020

 

Summary of latest Government briefing (03/04/2020)

Today’s Government briefing focused on a health care update, the full update can be seen here.

Latest Government advice and links

Updates shared earlier today

Updates to Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to ease liquidity for SMES and a new scheme for larger companies.

  • The Chancellor has today announced the extension of the CBILS to ensure all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, rather than just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.
  • The Government has also announced it will be stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000, and will be making changes to speed up approvals.
  • The Government will continue to cover the first 12 months of interest fees.
  • A new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.

The full announcement can be read here, we will share any further information and updates on these schemes as they become available.

Update on Business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector

Further to the guidance published earlier this week on business rate relief the Local Government Association and the Tourism Alliance have identified some tourism businesses that are not explicitly mentioned in the guidance, but it is felt that they fall into the intended category. Councils are being asked to give consideration to the premises listed below for inclusion in their local schemes:

  • Amusement Arcades
  • Vehicle Rental Sites
  • Conference and Exhibition venues
  • Travel and Tour Operators
  • Tourism Information Centres
  • Tourism Boards/Destination Management Organisations
  • Coach operators
  • English Language Schools
  • Travel/Hospitality Industry Charities (offices)
  • Marinas/Boat Hire/Passenger Boat Facilities

Other travel measures, advice and updates

  • As a result of the significant decline in flying, British Airways is making use of the UK’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme to help UK-based employees placed on furlough. The scheme will be applied to for 30,000+ cabin crew and ground-based employees in April and May.

Situation update 3 April 2020

 

Summary of latest Government briefing (01/04/2020)

The Business Secretary Alok Sharma gave today’s update along with Dr Yvonne Doyle, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director at PHE. Below are some of the key takeaways:

  • The Business Secretary gave an update on the steps the government is taking to address the pandemic. There have been 563 more deaths since yesterday bringing the total number of UK deaths to 2352.
  • From today £22bn of support is available to business with business rates relief.
  • Local authorities have received £12bn for grants to small businesses.
  • There are Government backed loans to businesses and Sharma warned banks that, “It would be completely unacceptable if any banks were refusing funds to good businesses in financial difficulty.
  • Dr Doyle presented statistics on transportation use. There has been a small increase in recent days. Dr Doyle warned the public to stay at home.
  • Global death comparisons will continue to have a lower trajectory than France and Italy.

The full briefing can be seen here.

Latest Government advice and links

  • Details on how much funding will be provided to businesses
    • Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all eligible businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.
    • Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.
    • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
    • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
    • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme. Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.
  • Also covered is eligibility of businesses for both funds, exclusions to the funds, information around fraud and rating list changes. The full guidance is available for download from gov.uk

Other travel measures, advice and updates

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 1 April 2020

 

Summary of latest relevant Government announcements

Latest Government advice and links

Other travel measures, advice and updates

  • Expo 2020 due to take place in Dubai this year has been postponed to 2021
  • EasyJet has announced due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions that they have fully grounded their fleet of aircraft as of 30 March.

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 30 March 2020

 

New guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been announced today stating that:

  • The UK Government will cover employer National Insurance and pension contributions of furloughed workers – on top of 80% of salary
  • Those furloughed can volunteer for the NHS without risking their pay
  • Businesses furloughing staff during the coronavirus outbreak will receive further financial support – with the costs of employer national insurance and pension contributions being covered by the government. Under the scheme, employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month. Visit the gov.uk website to find out more.

 

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 27 March 2020

  • As of 27 March, 2,506 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 12,288. The total for the UK now stands at 14,543, which includes 1059 in Scotland, 921 cases in Wales and 275 in Northern Ireland. A total of 113,777 people have been tested across the UK. There have been 759 deaths in the UK as of 5pm 26/03/2020.
  • To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
  • To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation interactive map.

Latest Government advice and links

 

Situation update: following Prime Minister’s address on 23 March 2020

The Prime Minister addressed the nation this evening (8.30pm), where he outlined further measures the Government is taking to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Key points from the address;

  • The PM warned that if too many people become ill at one time then the NHS will be unable to cope, and more people will die. He said that we must slow the spread of the virus to help with pressure.
  • From this evening, the PM says you “must stay at home”. People will only be able to leave their home for the following reasons;
    1. Shopping infrequently as possible for essentials.
    2. Exercise once a day (alone or with members of your family)
    3. Travel to and from work (only when absolutely necessary)
    4. For medical treatment or to care for vulnerable people.
  • The police will have the power to fine people and disperse gatherings.
  • All shops selling nonessential products will be closed. The PM encouraged the use of online delivery for food.
  • Playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be closed too. Parks remain open for exercise, but social distancing must be adhered to.
  • Gatherings of more than two people will be banned, and weddings, christenings etc will be stopped, but funerals will continue.
  • These measures will be reviewed in three weeks.

The full statement is available on this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-address-to-the-nation-on-coronavirus-23-march-2020

Additional Government/Political Updates:

The Foreign Secretary has advised all British travellers to return to the UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-advises-all-british-travellers-to-return-to-the-uk-now

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 20 March 2020

  • As of 09:00 20 March 2020, a total of 66,976 people have been tested. As of 09:00 20 March 2020, 3,983 confirmed as positive. As of 20 March 2020 13:00 there have been 177 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in the UK.
  • As of 09:00 20 March, of the total of cases which tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK 3,384 were in England, 322 in Scotland, 191 in Wales, and 86 in Northern Ireland.
  • To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
  • As of 20 March globally there has been 234,802 cases including: China 80,967, Italy 41,035, Republic of Korea 8,652, Iran 17,361, France 10,871, Germany 10,999, Spain 17,147, Japan 950, USA 10,442, UK 3,983, Switzerland 3,888, Netherlands 2,460, with 9,598 fatalities.
  • A total of 6,350 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, in 60 countries.
  • The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases.

UK Government daily briefing summary

The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer today gave a further press conference on COVID-19. Today’s measures focus on employee/individual support and strengthen the tone on social distancing.

  • Strengthening the guidance issued on Monday, and following agreement from all devolved administrations the Government is ‘telling’ bars, restaurants, pubs etc. to close (although they can continue to provide take-out services), theatres, nightclubs and gyms will also be told to close.
  • The Chancellor announced further measures on employee protection:
    • Stepping in to pay peoples wages with a new scheme. A grant will cover 80% of wages up to £2,500 for those employees kept on the payroll. This will be backdated to 1 March, open for three months (may be extended). This will cover businesses of any size. HMRC working to get scheme running within weeks, with first payments made by end of April. In the Q&A the Chancellor stated that the scheme will cover everyone on PAYE (incl zero-hours contracts).Further details will be published on Gov.uk shortly.
    • Corona Virus Business Interruption Scheme interest free period will be extended to 12 months. Available from Monday.
    • Cash flow support via the tax system. Deferring next quarter of VAT payments. No business will pay VAT from now until the end of June. The payments will not be due until the end of the financial year.
    • New national advertising campaign to communicate business support. Chancellor calls for people to consider the support carefully before laying people off.
    • Increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance by £1,000 a year. Working tax credit basic element will also increase by £1k.
    • Suspending the minimum income floor for everyone impacted, allowing the self-employed to access Universal Credit up to the level of statutory sick pay.
    • Deferment of next self-assessment payments are deferred until January 2021.

The full statement will be available here shortly. https://www.gov.uk/search/news-and-communications?topical_events%5B%5D=coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Latest Government advice and links

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

  • The UK Government has announced that it has worked with rail operators to agree a reduction in rail service levels to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. Rail services will be reduced from Monday 23 March and kept under review
  • Harrods has announced it will be closing the store as of 19.00 Friday 20 March
  • Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir have announced that they have adjusted services in response to COVID-19 and are suspending additional services across their network. To date, the suspensions mean that SIA will operate only 50% of the capacity that had been originally scheduled up to the end of April 2020
  • Cathay Pacific: Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have stated that they are to reduce capacity by 96% across their passenger network in April and May in light of the severe drop in demand due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The airlines have also update their refund and rebooking guidelines for all tickets issued before March 17 2020.
  • Jet2.com – has announced that it is preparing to suspend its entire flying programme until at least 1 May. It also stated during the past week it had conducted an extensive repatriation programme to bring its customers safely home
  • Haven (part of the Bourne Leisure brand) has announced that is temporarily closing its parks for holidaymakers from 20 March to 16 April 2020. In a statement on its website Haven said it was aware of holidaymakers concerns about the current COVID-19 situation and how this affects planned holidays at Haven. As it continued to reflect on this, and how it impacts the Haven experience it can offer, it had taken the decision to temporarily close.
  • In India, the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announce that from this midnight on 20 March, all workplaces will remain closed till 31st March. This is applicable in Mumbai, MMR Region, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur
  • The Vietnam Government has announced that all incoming travellers will be required to enter centralised quarantine from 21 March

You can also visit the VisitBritain/VisitEngland website where they continue to share advice for businesses and links to key updates and information.

 

Situation update: correct as of 16.00 17 March 2020

  • As of 9am on 17 March 2020, 50,442 people have been tested in the UK, of which 48,492 were confirmed negative and 1,950 were confirmed as positive.
  • As of 17 March, 361 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of lab confirmed cases in England to 1,557. The total for the UK now stands at 1,950, which includes 195 in Scotland, 136 cases in Wales, and 62 in Northern Ireland.
  • As of 17 March globally there has been 179,288 cases, China 80,881, Italy 27,980, Republic of Korea 8,320, Iran 14,991, France 6,573, Germany 6,021, Spain 9,191, Japan 829, USA 3,487, UK 1950, Switzerland and Liechtenstein 2,200, Netherlands 1,413, with 7,108 fatalities
  • A total of 4,950 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, in 48 countries
  • Following the UK Government’s announcement of increased measures to delay transmission, further guidance on social distancing has been published, this advice is also being recommended to be applied to mass gatherings.
  • The Foreign Commonwealth Office has updated it’s travel advice to avoid all non-essential international travel this is for an initial period of 30 days and effective immediately
  • The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases
  • The Prime Minister has set up new ministerial structures to coordinate, prioritise and respond to the coronavirus pandemic across government. The four implementation committees include: healthcare, general public sector, economic and business and international.

UK Government daily briefing summary

The Government held the second of its new daily briefings on the UK approach to tackling COVID 19. The Prime Minister reiterated the government’s approach announced yesterday. He was joined by Chancellor Rishi Sunak who outlined a rescue package, in addition to the £12bn announced in the budget. Key points below:

  • The Prime Minister outlined that the government are increasing the capacity of the NHS, investing in research and development, and acting like a wartime economy.
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak noted that this is a public health emergency but also an economic emergency. He promised that the Government will do “whatever it takes”.
  • The Budget outlined a package of measures to support business during the crisis. This is the next stage of the economic response.
    • £330bn of government-backed loans and guarantees that will be available from next week.
    • Secretary of State for Transport will announce a package to support airports and airlines in the coming days.
    • Stated Government actions are sufficient to trigger payments for those businesses with pandemic insurance.
    • For the hospitality and leisure sector there will be a business rates holiday and a £25k cash grant per retail and leisure business for those without specific pandemic insurance.
    • Strengthen support for people. In addition to the measures in the budget, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month “mortgage holiday” for those in financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • The Chancellor will give a statement to the House of Commons on the economy at 19.00 today.

Tourism Industry Council meeting

A meeting of the Tourism Industry Council was held today led by the Secretary of State and attended by  a number of industry reps (including ALVA, UKinbound. UK Hospitality, ABTA, Hilton Hotels).

Key asks of Government raised at the TIER meeting reiterated points from today’s TIER meeting, calling for urgent/immediate action as follows:

  • Long-term relief on business rates, PAYE, VAT
  • Salary and redundancy support
  • Measures from banks
  • Urgent access to funds
  • Budget measures for SMEs to be extended to medium and large businesses
  • Support for landlords to look at sensibly phased payment schedules
  • Mandatory closure to help with insurance for some parts of the sector (e.g. theatres and attractions)
  • Tourism business advice and clarity on definitions

The Secretary of State confirmed that these will be fed into the Chancellor.

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 10 March 2020

  • As of 9am on 10 March 2020, 26,261 people have been tested in the UK, of which 25,888 were confirmed negative and 373 were confirmed as positive. Six patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
  • As of 10 March, 44 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 324. The total for the UK now stands at 373, which includes 27 in Scotland, 6 cases in Wales, and 16 in Northern Ireland. Contact tracing is underway for all cases.
  • Information on the number of cases in each local authority in England can be found on gov.uk
  • As of 10 March globally there has been 113,851 cases, China 80,754, Italy 9,172, Republic of Korea 7,513, Iran 7,161, France 1,412, Germany 1,139, Spain 1,024, Japan 514, USA 472, UK 373, Switzerland 332, Netherlands 321 with 4,014 fatalities. A total of 853 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, Italy (463), Republic of Korea (54), Iran (Islamic Republic of) (237), France (30), Germany (2), Spain (28), cases on Diamond Princess Cruise ship (7), Japan (9), USA (19), UK (6), Switzerland (2) Netherlands (3), Hong Kong SAR (3), Australia (3), Canada (1), Thailand (1), San Marino (2), Taiwan (1), Philippines (1), Argentina (1), Switzerland (2), Iraq (6)
  • The UK Government has updated their travel advice for travellers returning to the UK from specified countries. The advice has two categories.
    • Category 1 : Travellers should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. Go home or to your destination and then self-isolate.
      • anywhere in Italy on or after 9 March
      • specific areas in northern Italy in the last 14 days
      • Iran in the last 14 days
      • Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
      • Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea in the last 14 days
  • Category 2: Travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.
      • Italy (outside specific areas in northern Italy) before 9 March, mainland China outside of Hubei province, South Korea outside of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Taiwan
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke at a news conference on 9 March, he said, amongst other items, that the UK is making “extensive preparations” for a move to the delay phase of its response to the coronavirus outbreak. He added that the UK will remain in the “containment” stage of its response for now. The full transcript is available on gov.uk
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Italy, due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) and in line with various controls and restrictions imposed by the Italian authorities on 9 March.
  • The Indian Government is monitoring the progress of coronavirus cases around the world and updating their travel restrictions regularly in response. The north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim have banned entry of foreign nationals with effect from 8 and 5 March 2020 respectively as a preventive measure against spread of the coronavirus.

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

  • Following the French Government’s announcement to ban gatherings of more than 1,000 people, Atout France has postponed its travel trade event Rendez-vous which was scheduled for 23-25 March 2020.
  • Ryanair suspends all flights to and from Italy until 8 April after the Italian Government extends restrictions.
  • Jet 2 has cancelled all flights to Italy (Rome, Naples, Pisa, Turin, Venice and Verona) between now and 26 April 2020 (inclusive).
  • The Spanish Health Ministry has closed all schools and universities in Madrid, the city of Vitoria and the town of Labastida. Outside of the education system, the health minister has recommended that citizens in Madrid and Álava work from home wherever possible, and avoid meetings. For the rest of Spain they have recommended increased precautions including limiting unnessecary journeys for those with underlying illnesses.
  • The Vietnamese Government has announced that the visa waiver programme for UK citizens has been suspended with effect of 12 March 2020. Anyone travelling ahead of that time should check with their airline in advance as a precaution.
  • Due to the impacts of the coronavirus situation, Finnair has already cancelled approximately 1,400 flights from its network and is now further adjusting its network to the decreased demand.  This will include some flights to London from Helsinki operating on a different aircraft.
  • Asiana Airline has reduced or cancelled a number of service routes globally, this includes flights from Incheon to London – these flights have been suspended March 17-April 24, this also includes several other European destinations. Further details of reduced or suspended routes can be found on their website.
  • Due to the updated FCO advice Ski operators, Inghams and Crystal Ski are working to bring home guests staying in resorts as well as cancelling all upcoming holidays to these resorts for the remainder of this ski season.
  • Belfast City Council has postponed its St Patrick’s Day celebrations as a precautionary measure following the cancellation of a number of St Patrick’s Day celebrations across Ireland.
  • The Lufthansa Group (LH, Swiss, Austrian SN Brussels, Air Dolomiti & Eurowings) announced plans to reduce flight capacity by up to 50% (affecting all destinations) and to temporarily ground its fleet of 14 Airbus A380s due to COVID-19.

Partner updates

  • Simon Hughes, Vice Chair of BVEP was on the BBC Business Briefing this morning talking about the impact of COVID-19 on the Events industry and what we are doing through TIER watch from 4:12
  • Chris Skeith CEO of the Association of Event Organisers was on Worklife today speaking about the impact on the Event industry watch from 6:00

COVID-19 impact survey – reminder

  • To ensure we are capturing the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and Business Events in a consistent and comprehensive way, we have created a questionnaire in survey monkey for businesses to complete. The questions in the survey will help us capture the impact on bookings, the wider economic impact and what insurance is covering as well as what Business Events are affected in the short and longer-term.  Please ask your members to fill in the survey by using the link. Anything contributed will be treated as confidential – disclosures will not be attributable. https://www.research.net/r/VBCOVID19 Please complete the survey by 17.00 Wednesday 11 March.

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 9 March 2020

  • As of 9am on 9 March 2020, 24,960 people have been tested in the UK, of which 24,641 were confirmed negative and 319 were confirmed as positive. Three patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

 

Situation update correct as of 16.00 03 March 2020

  • As of 09:00 on 3 March 2020, a total of 13,911 people have been tested in the UK for Covid-19, of which 13,860 were confirmed negative
  • On 3 March, Chief Medical Officer announced 12 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 48. The total for the UK now stands at 51. which includes one case in Wales, one in Northern Ireland and one in Scotland. 15 cases have been discharged following two consecutive negative test results.
  • Globally as of 09:00 on 2 March 2020 there have been 90,961 confirmed cases, of which 80151 are in China, 4,812 are in South Korea, 2,036 are in Italy and 1,501 in Iran
  • The fatalities to date are 3,100. A total of 157 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, Iran (Islamic Republic of) (54), Italy (52), Republic of Korea (28), Japan (5), cases on Diamond Princess Cruise ship (6), France (3), USA (2), Hong Kong SAR (2), Taiwan (1), Philippines (1), Thailand (1), Australia (1), San Marino (1)

UK action plan:

Today the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, set out the options for consideration by Government to tackle the COVID-19 virus. The document, published this morning outlines;

  • A possible delay strategy could be used to move the peak of the outbreak to warmer months so that it does not overlap with normal flu and allows more time for research
  • There are plans ready for a range of outcomes, from mild pandemic with low impact on services (like Swine Flu in 2009) through to severe and prolonged pandemic
  • There are plans for the Ministry of Defence to provide support to Civilian Authorities if requested
  • If the disease becomes established in the UK, further measures to be considered include school closures, home working and reducing large-scale gatherings
  • Police would concentrate on serious crimes and maintaining public order if a lot of officers are on sick leave, in the case of the disease being fully established
  • There could well be an increase in deaths, particularly amongst the vulnerable and elderly
  • Concessions may be made by tax officials if businesses struggle to pay tax bills
  • Some non-urgent care in the NHS may be delayed to focus on treating coronavirus patients.
  • Recently retired staff may be called back

Read the full coronavirus action plan on gov.uk

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

  • On 2 March Ryanair announced that they will be cancelling up to 25% of their Italian short haul flights from 17 March-8 April in response to the Covid-19 virus. Affected passengers were notified by email on 2 March.
  • Wendy Wu Tours issued a statement saying in light of ‘The Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism are now reviewing all tourist attractions with an expectation that everything will be open from April onwards.’ They expect to operate all their tours in full from 1 April.
  • The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance on 1 March for Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) with students participating in foreign exchange or study abroad program due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.
    • To consider postponing or cancelling student foreign exchange programs
    • IHEs should consider asking students participating in study abroad programs to return to the United States.
    • IHE should consider asking current program participants to return to their home country.

Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 16.00 26 February 2020

UK picture

  • As of 09:00 26 February, a total of 7,132 people have been tested in the UK, 7,119 have been confirmed negative. Four further patients have tested positive bringing the total to 13. The virus was passed on in the Diamond Princess cruise ship and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres.
  • Globally as of 26 February at 10.00am there are 81,050 cases of which 78,064 are in China, 1,146 are in the Republic of Korea and 322 are in Italy. The fatalities to date are 2,768 (of which the following are outside China: Hong Kong SAR (2), Iran (15), Cases on Diamond Princess Cruise ship (4), Italy (10), Japan (1), Taiwan (1), France (1), Philippines (1) Republic of Korea (11)).
  • British Airways is continuing to operate to and from Italy and they are continuing to monitor the situation closely. They have introduced flexible rebooking options for customers booked to travel to/from to travel between London and the Northern Italian destinations including, Milan (Linate and Malpensa), Turin, Bologna, Venice, Bergamo and Verona up to 2 March 2020. Customers can rebook to a later travel date up to 31 March 2020.
  • easyJet and Ryanair flights are still operating as normal.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for outbound travel

  • The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is still advising against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China
  • The FCO is also advising against all but essential travel to:
    • the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea
    • ten small towns in the Lombardy region and one in the Veneto region of Italy
  • The FCO is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks.

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

  • The World Health Organisation and UNWTO have issued a joint statement on tourism and COVID-19 calling for coordination. The key take outs are:
  • Tourism’s response needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment, involving every part of the tourism value chain – public bodies, private companies and tourists, in line with WHO’s overall guidance and recommendations.
  • UNWTO and WHO stand ready to work closely with all those communities and countries affected by the current health emergency, to build for a better and more resilient future. Travel restrictions going beyond these may cause unnecessary interference with international traffic, including negative repercussions on the tourism sector.

ITB updates

  • On 26 February the organisers of ITB Berlin announced that on the advice of German public health authorities all exhibitors at ITB Berlin will be required to fill out a declaration form. The declaration form is a condition for access to the exhibition grounds and serves to identify persons belonging to a COVID 19 risk group.
  • They have also said “This is a precautionary measure in order to protect those participating in ITB Berlin and the public in general. The Federal Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute have assessed that the health risk in Germany remains low.

Practical advice and guidance

  • The World Health Organisation has issued advice to the publicIf you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or if you have not travelled from one of those areas or have not been in close contact with someone who has and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting it are currently low.’

Please also see an interesting article from Conference and Incentive Travel about the Hong Kong Government providing a subsidy of US$130 million to the exhibition and convention market to reinvigorate the industry after Covid-19 event cancellations.

Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 16.00 25 February 2020

UK picture

  • As of 09:00 25 February, a total of 6,795, people have been tested in the UK, 6,782 have been confirmed negative. Four further patients have tested positive bringing the total to 13. The virus was passed on in the Diamond Princess cruise ship and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres.
  • Globally as of 25 February at 10.00am there are 80,250 cases of which 77,658 are in China, 977 are in the Republic of Korea and 229 are in Italy. The fatalities to date are 2,663 (of which the following are outside China: Hong Kong SAR (2), Iran (12), Cases on Diamond Princess Cruise ship (2), Italy (6), Japan (1), Taiwan (1), France (1), Philippines (1) Republic of Korea (10)).

New travel advice

  • The UK Government is advising anyone who has travelled, or returned, to the UK since 19 February from Iran, specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy, special care zones in South Korea as designated by the Government of the Republic of South Korea, Hubei province (returned in the past 14 days) to call NHS111 to inform them of your recent travel to the area and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms.
  • The UK Government is also advising is advising anyone who has travelled, or returned, to the UK from Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar since 19 February and develop symptoms, however mild, to stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS111.

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

  • On 24 February the organisers of ITB Berlin published a new reassurance statement confirming that the event will be going ahead as planned.

Practical advice and guidance

In the meantime you can check the Visit Britain website where we continue to share advice for businesses and links to key updates and information.

Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 16.30 14 February 2020.

  • The World Health Organisation has confirmed the official name for the novel coronavirus as COVID-19.
  • Public Health England have publish a blog around contact tracing explaining what it is and how it is being used to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Business Events Partnership has reported that an individual who has been identified to have COVID-19 attended a conference at QEII conference centre last week. QEII are working closely with Public Health England and the event organisers to trace the delegates and give them advice on the situation as a precaution. The QEII Centre remains fully open and events will continue to take place as normal. Staff and suppliers have been briefed on the situation and actions to take if they have any concerns about their health. A media plan has also been put in place to ensure that everyone has a clear view of the current evolving situation.
  • As of 14 February, a total of 2,964 people have been tested in the UK, of which 2,955 were confirmed negative and 9 positive.
  • Globally as of 14 February there are 64,437 cases of which 63,851 are in China.
  • The fatalities to date are 1,383 (1,380 of these are within China, 1 in the Philippines, 1 in Hong Kong and 1 in Japan).
  • The China Britain Business Council has shared a regional response update where they outline how local and provincial governments in China are supporting local and foreign businesses, the most common measures include:
    • Preferential tax and social security policies, with filing deadlines deferred or suspended
    • Direct financial support for heavily affected businesses
    • Rent reductions or suspension
    • Preferential loan and financing support
    • Reduced utility fees
    • Bespoke legal and administrative aid
    • Employment support and special labour regulations regarding quarantined employees

Travel related updates:

    • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.
    • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
    • CLIA Members are to conduct pre-boarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.

Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 15.00 11 February 2020

  • As of 11 February, a total of 1,358 UK tests have been concluded, of which 1,350 were confirmed negative and 8 positive.
  • Globally as of 11 February there are 43,102 cases of which 42,638 are in China.
  • The fatalities to date are 1,018 (1,016 of these are within China, 1 in the Philippines and 1 in Hong Kong).
  • Enhanced monitoring will be extended at Gatwick airport to cover all inbound flights from the extended list of countries under the Department for Health and Social Care advice that was updated on 6 February.
  • Following the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s continued advice against all but essential travel to mainland China, British Airways have cancelled all flights to Beijing and Shanghai until 31 March 2020 and all flights travelling from Beijing and Shanghai until 1 April 2020. Flights to and from Hong Kong remain unaffected.
  • During February there were 335 flights due to arrive direct from China, this has been reduced to 224 as a result of flights being suspended. The February flights currently suspended are as follows:
    • 58 British Airways flights: 13,476 seats.
    • 29 Virgin Atlantic flights: 7,482 seats.
    • 11 China Southern Airline flights from Wuhan: 2,915 seats.
    • 13 Hainan Airlines flights to Manchester: 3,750 seats.

 

Coronavirus – Situation update – correct as of 15.00 10 February 2020

  • The UK Government has today 10 February introduced new regulations to delay or prevent further transmission of coronavirus. The regulations have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in the UK by keeping individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus.
  • The regulations also apply to any individuals seeking to leave supported isolation before the current quarantine period of 14 days is complete. It will also apply to future cases during the current coronavirus incident.
  • The risk to individuals remains low.
  • A further 5 patients have tested positive for coronavirus bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight.
  • The patients are receiving specialist NHS care and tried and tested infection control procedures are being used to prevent further spread of the virus.
  • The NHS is working quickly to identify any further contacts these patients have had.
  • As of 10 February, a total of 1,114 UK tests have concluded, of which 1,106 were confirmed negative.
  • Five UK nationals in France and one British national in Spain have tested positive for 2019-nCoV.
  • Globally as of 10 February there are 40,558 cases of which 40,171 are in China. The fatalities to date are 910 (908 of these are within China, 1 in the Philippines and 1 in Hong Kong).
  • Enhanced monitoring was extended on Saturday 8 February at Heathrow to cover direct flights from Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia. There are no direct flights from Macau.
  • The extension of enhanced monitoring to flights from Singapore to Manchester comes into effect today 10 February.
  • Public Health England (PHE) are working with Birmingham Airport to implement enhanced monitoring to be in place to meet a direct flight from Thailand on 13 February and a direct flight from Malaysia on 14 February.
  • The revised PHE leaflets have been translated into additional languages to meet the needs of the airlines, these will be available from Monday 10 February.

 

Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 15.00 5 February 2020

  • As of 5 February there have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, a total of 468 UK tests have concluded, of which 466 were confirmed negative and 2 positive.
  • Globally as of 5 February there are 24,553 cases of which 24,324 are in China, there are less than 200 outside of China in 27 countries.
  • The fatalities to date are 492 (490 of these are within China, 1 in the Philippines and 1 in Hong Kong).
  • Public Health England (PHE) has distributed 100,000 leaflets to airlines and airports. The information is available in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
  • Airlines are being asked to call ahead with any issues around symptomatic passengers and PHE teams are on standby to deploy and meet these airlines accordingly.
  • The UK Government has announced £20m core funding to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) on 2 February to support research into vaccines.
  • The Diamond Princess cruise ship is currently in quarantine outside Yokohama, Japan after a previous passenger fell ill with coronavirus, 10 people on the ship have tested positive for the coronavirus. Princess Cruises has cancelled the next two Diamond Princess cruises 4 and 12 February.

Outbound travel advice from FCO

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated their travel advice on the 4 February, advising against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. They further advised British nationals in China to leave, if they are able to do so.

VisitBritain and DCMS attended a cross-Government meeting organised by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (who look after the UK Government’s crisis response). Representatives from the Department for Transport, Department for Education, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Department of Health and Social Care also joined the meeting (apologies from Home Office and FCO). The aim of this meeting was to look at concerns/potential impact on Chinese visitors to Britain, following BA and Virgin suspended direct flights between Britain and China. Key out-takes were:

  • Both BA and Virgin are operating a flexible policy and there are clear rules around care for passengers in the UK meaning that they are allowing cancellations, re-routings, postponements.
  • There have been no reports via TIER and TIER members or across Government of visitors being stranded currently.
  • Chinese visitors with health concerns need to follow the same route as the British public, so contact NHS 111. In Northern Ireland, visitors should call the Corona Virus Helpline: 0300 200 7885. They are looking to provide translators on these services. Advice of how medical support will be funded to follow
  • DFE are looking at arrangements for school children at boarding and at independent schools who are unable to get home on a case by case basis. The expectation is that provision would be made for them to stay on at boarding school and that those at independent schools have sponsor families who would support
  • MHCLG is looking at how we ensure the Chinese in Britain are not subject to prejudice as a result. VB and DCMS to link up with them given we have similar concerns re: visitors
  • We flagged the following as needing consideration/actions
    • Specific advice for tourism businesses on welcoming visitors and dealing with fears from other visitors/guests (mentioning examples raised at TIER re: language schools, hotels, attractions, etc.)
    • Potential insolvency of operators reliant on Chinese visitors
    • Rules for other airlines re: passenger care should they decide to pull routes
    • Overall, to consider visitors as well as the British public as part of overall planning and messaging

 

Coronavirus – correct as of 15.00 3 February 2020

Situation Update

  • As of 3 February there have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, a total of 326 UK tests have concluded, of which 324 were confirmed negative and 2 positives.
  • The two patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and the NHS is using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.
  • The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.
  • On February 2 the UK Government launched a public information campaign to advise the public on how to slow the spread of the coronavirus and reduce the impacts on NHS services – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-public-information-campaign-launched-across-the-uk
  • The first repatriation flight arrived from Wuhan on 31 January, upon arrival British nationals and dependants were transported to supported isolation. An additional 11 British nationals were repatriated on 2 February, ten of those were transported to supported isolation. One symptomatic individual was taken to hospital for testing.
  • The FCO has closed its office in Wuhan and will be working in crisis mode across the rest of the country with a severely reduced number of staff.
  • The World Health Organisation does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their healthcare provider.

Global travel restrictions:

  • Many countries have issued travel restrictions on Chinese nationals or foreign nationals who have been to mainland China as well as other preventative measures:
  • Denying entry to all foreign visitors who have recently been to mainland China: US, Australia, Singapore, India, Antigua, Jamaica
  • Denying entry to foreigners travelling from mainland China: New Zealand, Israel
  • The Japanese government will quarantine foreigners who have stayed in Hubei Province, China, and foreigners holding passports issued by the province (except in special cases) for 14 days before being able to enter Japan.
  • Italy, Czech Republic and Greece have stopped receiving and processing Schengen visa applications in China
  • Cruise Lines International Association members have suspended crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual, whether guest or crew, who has travelled from or through mainland China within the previous 14 days.
  • Cruise lines will modify itineraries where needed and will introduce travel and contact screening where appropriate, for guests and crew who have recently travelled from or through the affected area consistent with prevailing guidance from global health authorities.

NB: there are other reports of restrictions in the media, but we have been unable to verify these from official sources at this stage.

Updated advice for visitors from China

  • From 31 January Public Health England has updated their advice for those that have travelled from elsewhere in China:
    • If you have travelled from anywhere else in China (not including Macao or Hong Kong) to the UK in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, you should:
    • immediately self-isolate, even if symptoms are minor and call NHS111.

 

Coronavirus – correct as of 14.30 30 January 2020

Situation Update

  • Health protection teams have been in place at Heathrow since 22nd January and in Gatwick and Manchester since 29th January.
  • Posters and leaflets have been sent by Public Health England electronically to all 28 UK international airports and all UK Eurostar terminals.
  • Following Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel to mainland China,  British Airways cancelled their flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai until 31 January with immediate effect. This period has now been extended until 29 February, while they assess the situation. Flights to and from Hong Kong remain unaffected.
  • There are still a number of airlines operating between the UK and China so passengers do have other options to get home.
  • Other airlines including Lufthansa, Air Canada, United Airlines, Air India, Air Tanzania have suspended flights to and from mainland China.
  • Some commercial airlines are still operating but have reduced their services including Cathay Pacific, Lion Air, Air Seoul, Finnair, American Airlines
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is doing everything they can to get British people in Wuhan safely back to the UK. A number of countries’ flights have been unable to take off as planned. They continue working urgently to organise a flight to the UK as soon as possible.
  • Anyone who now returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all necessary medical attention
  • Chinese authorities have ordered all their national travel agencies and online travel companies to temporarily suspend business, group travel and ‘ticket and hotel’ products effective immediately
  • The Chinese Government is asking travel companies, operators and tourism businesses around the world to facilitate booking changes and cancellations to help reduce the movement of crowds and reduce the spread of the virus. At the moment the Chinese Government are not offering any compensation to cancelled groups.
  • We are seeing some best practice industry examples from accommodation providers such as Jurys Inn and GLH who are offering free cancellations until 4 February to guests who are affected by the situation.

Re: Outbound travel to China from the UK:

  • The FCO are advising travelers who want to leave China soon, should consider making plans to do so before any further restrictions may be imposed.
  • They are advising against all travel to Hubei Province and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao).
  • Please keep up-to-date on the FCO’s travel advice website here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

 

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