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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin - 3 December 2020

This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19). All coronavirus business support information can be found at gov.uk/business-support


Local restriction tier system

Three tiers for local restrictions are in place in England from Wednesday 2 December. Information for businesses, including what you can and cannot do in each tier, is available below.  

Guidance on how to make your workplace COVID-secure has been updated to reflect the tiered system.  

Guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace has been updated to reflect the new local tiered system. If your venue can open in the tier it is in, you must continue to follow the guidance. If your venue must close in the tier it is in, you must follow this guidance when you are allowed to reopen. 

Prime Minister announces £1,000 Christmas grant to ‘wet-led pubs'

The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday 1 December, support for pubs that predominantly serve alcohol, rather than food, through festive period. This is: 

  • an additional £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ in tiers 2 and 3 
  • for Pubs that predominantly serve alcohol rather than provide food 
  • a one-off for December that will be paid on top on the existing £3,000 monthly cash grants for businesses. This will cover those in tiers 2 and 3 forced to reduce their operations as a result of the latest regional measures put in place to contain transmission of the virus. 

For more information on the PM’s statement click here 

The UK Transition: Time is Running Out

With just 29 days to go until the UK’s new start: 

  • Watch  sector specific webinars  on demand here 

For the latest transition information direct to your inbox, sign up to the Transition Readiness Business Bulletin here.

New Guidance

High Street opening hours for Christmas shopping extended: From Wednesday 2 December retailers will be able to extend their daily opening hours from Monday to Saturday in the run up to Christmas and through January. For more information check here.  

Test to Release for international travel: The Test to Release for International Travel scheme is for people who need to self-isolate on arrival in England. Under the scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. The earliest you can take the test is at least 5 days after you left a destination not on the travel corridor list. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating. 

The scheme is voluntary and applies to those self-isolating in England only. The Test to Release scheme starts on 15 December. Find out more here.  

VAT on admission charges to attractions: The VAT reduced rate for tourism and hospitality has been extended to 31 March 2021. More information here.  

Transition risk in the hospitality sector: Policy paper in transmission risk in the hospitality sector has been published. There are four types of evidence currently available to understand where transmission is occurring; each has limitations, but they are consistent in supporting the view that hospitality venues are a significant risk for transmission. 


Updated Guidance

Claim for the third grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: The online service for claiming the third grant is now available. Guidance has also been updated to provide clarity on verifying your eligibility with HMRC after having a new child. 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers: The step-by-step guide has been updated to reflect recent changes to the scheme, and a new key dates guide has also been published. There are now monthly deadlines for claims. This means that you may need to submit earlier than you have in previous months. Use this list of dates to help you submit your claim before it’s too late. Check the step by step guide.  

Other Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme updates:  

  • Check the updated information on how to give further detail about if your fixed-rate employee’s first pay period ends after 30 October 2020 and if your variable-rate employee’s first wages are payable after they begin furlough here.  
  • Guidance on holiday pay has been updated with further clarity on when employees can be furloughed. 
  • Find new examples to help you calculate your employees’ wages.  

Local Restrictions Support Grant (for Open businesses): Payment period changed from 28 to 14 days. Eligible businesses may be entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 14-day period under local restrictions. Check if you are eligible here. 

Driver and rider trainer guidance: Guidance for driving instructors and motorcycle trainers has been updated to confirm driving lessons can restart in all areas in England from Wednesday 2 December and driving tests will restart in tier 1 and 2 areas on Wednesday 2 December, and in tier 3 areas on Thursday 3 December. More information here.

Working safely during coronavirus guidance for shops and branches: has been updated with information on items that have been returned, donated, or brought in for repair.  

Covid-19 and the private security industry – FAQs: The FAQ document has been updated.  

Guidance for personal trainers in tier 3 areas has been updated. Personal training is permitted for 1:1 sessions only, and should not take place in private houses. 

Testing guidance for employers: has been updated.   

Travel

Countries, territories, or regions added to the travel corridor list 

  • If you arrive in England from Aruba, Bhutan, Mongolia, the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste after 4am Saturday 28 November, you will need to self-isolate read the rules on how to self-isolate. 

Countries, territories, or regions removed from the travel corridor list: Estonia and Latvia were removed from the exempt list at 4am Saturday 28 November: 

Additional transport measures against travel from Denmark ended 4am, 28 November

Other useful links

Some aspects of business support are devolved. Specific information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is available. In England, Growth Hubs can advise on local and UK Government business support. You can also find helpful business case studies and other useful information on the Coronavirus Business Support Blog.