Covid19

NWAA has set up this COVID-19 page to support its members and partners. NWAA will be posting useful links and information from BEIS and the local authority each day.

Please feel free to get in touch with Sharon McDonald (sharon.mcdonald@aerospace.co.uk) or Claire Lambert (claire.lambert@aerospace.co.uk) if you wish to arrange a call to discuss how NWAA can support your business at this difficult time. 

Stay Safe!

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin from BEIS. These bulletins beloe are issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides information for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin - 23 December 2020

Business Support

UPDATED: Coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant (for closed businesses)

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG (Closed)) supports businesses that have been required to close due to temporary local restrictions. Guidance has been updated to reflect that all Tier 4 businesses required to close will be eligible for grants of up to £1,500 for each 14-day period of closure; the grants will be administered by local authorities. Guidance also amended to reflect UK’s updated state aid agreement with the EU Commission.  

For more information, click here.  

Protocol agreed to reopen the French border to UK arrivals 

An agreement to reopen the UK-French border to allow accompanied freight services and some passenger services to resume between the two countries was reached by the UK and French Governments, yesterday evening, 22 December 2020. 

Rail, air and sea services resume today, with all people travelling from the UK to France required to show proof of a negative Coronavirus test taken within the previous 72 hours. 

For more information, click here.  

HGV Operators and drivers crossing an international border

Guidance has been issued for operators, drivers and crew of HGVs on crossing an international border safely. Guidance includes general precautions, what to do if a driver or crew displays COVID symptoms, loading and unloading, limiting the length of stay and more.  

For full guidance, click here.  

Tier 4: Stay at Home

Guidance has been updated to explain what you can and cannot do in areas with a very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place. Updates include: 'Where and when you can meet in larger groups', and 'Travelling out of a Tier 4 area' which has been updated to include a legally permitted reason to travel, 'to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm (such as domestic abuse)'.

For more information, click here.

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin - 20 December 2020

Government announces new Tier 4: 'Stay at Home' Alert Level in response to new COVID variant

As a response to a rapid rise in infections attributed to the rapid spread of a new variant of COVID-19, tougher restrictions have been introduced for London, large parts of the South East and East of England, with a new Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ alert level, that came into force at 00:01 hrs Sunday 20 December 2020. 

As a result, the following areas have moved from Tier 3 to Tier 4:

  • Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings;
  • London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London); and
  • the East of England (Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Essex excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).

For business, those that can, should work from home.  Where people cannot work from home, they should still travel to work, for example, in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

Non-essential retail, indoor leisure [such as swimming pools and gyms], indoor entertainment [such as cinemas, bowling alleys and casinos], and personal care sectors [such as nail bars, barbers and hairdressers] must all close.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to businesses:

  • Loans, tax relief and cash grants are available
  • Employers might be eligible for financial support to pay wages
  • Self-employed people might be eligible for a taxable grant covering 80% of trading profits

Business support advice can be found here.

New travel advice between the tiers: People should not travel into or out of Tier 4 areas and, those in Tier 4 areas will not be permitted to travel abroad, apart from limited exceptions including work.

People in Tiers 1, 2, and 3 should stay local.

A copy of the Prime Minister’s statement announcing the changes can be found here.

Specific information for businesses and employers in Wales,  Scotland and  Northern Ireland  is available.

New and Updated Guidance

NEW Guidance

Tier 4-Stay at Home: For Guidance on what you can and cannot do in areas with a very rapidly rising level of infections, from 20 December.

Tier 1: Medium alert: This page has been updated to reflect introduction of Tier 4 including updated travel, going to work guidance and what you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 1 of local restrictions.

Tier 2: High alert: This page has been updated to reflect introduction of Tier 4 including updated travel, going to work guidance and what you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 2 of local restrictions.

Tier 3: Very High alert: This page has been updated to reflect introduction of Tier 4 including updated travel, going to work guidance and what you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 3 of local restrictions.

UPDATED Guidance

Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus: Guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain, and report incidents of coronavirus has been updated under the section ‘What you can do to manage a possible outbreak’.  Further details can be found here.

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.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin - 17 December 2020

UK's furlough scheme to be extended

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced today (17 December) that the UK's furlough scheme will be extended for an extra month until the end of April 2021. Under the furlough scheme, employees placed on leave receive 80% of their pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.  

Businesses will also be given until the end of March 2021 to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. These had been due to close at the end of January. This announcement comes ahead of the Budget, which the Chancellor has confirmed will take place on 3 March 2021.  Further information can be found here

Review of coronavirus tiering restrictions in England .

  • Bedfordshire 
  • Buckinghamshire  
  • Berkshire  
  • Peterborough  
  • the whole of Hertfordshire  
  • Surrey – with the exception of Waverley  
  • Hastings and Rother, on the Kent border of East Sussex and  
  • Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire 

These areas are in addition to London, Essex and parts of Hertfordshire, that moved into Tier 3 on Wednesday 16 December.  

Areas moving down Tiers as from Saturday are:  

  • Bristol and North Somerset will come out of Tier 3, into Tier 2, and 
  • Herefordshire will come out of Tier 2 and into Tier 1 

A copy of the Heath Secretary’s statement of 17 December can be found here.  

The full list of local restriction tiers by area can be found here. Further information on local restriction Tiers can be found here

Financial support is available for businesses in Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3:  

New Guidance

Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs: New Guidance has been issued that sets out support for wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions. Eligible businesses may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of £1,000 from their local council in areas under Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions. Your pub may be eligible if you: 

  • are based in England 
  • derive less than 50% of your sales from food 
  • are in an area subject to Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions since 2 December 2020 
  • were established in the pub before 1 December 2020 

Check if you are eligible for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs. 

Income Tax and National Insurance contributions exemption for employer-reimbursed coronavirus antigen tests: This measure aims to ensure that there is no National Insurance contributions liability where an employer reimburses an employee for the cost of a relevant coronavirus antigen test. This measure will have effect from 25 January 2021 until 5 April 2021. For more on the detailed proposal click here

HMG suspends import tariffs on Covid-19 products to fight virus: The new measures, which ensure no tariffs will be due on imports of goods including face masks, gloves, and other protective equipment, will come into effect from 1 January 2021. For more information, click here

Updated Guidance

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

  •  If you have missed the claim deadline: Check the updated section on “If you have missed the claim deadline”. Employers must contact HMRC to ask about submitting a late claim. 
  • Calculate how much you have to pay your furloughed employees for hours on furlough and how much you can claim back: Guidance has been updated with examples of when the calculator cannot be used, click here. You will need to work out what you can claim manually using the calculation guidance or by seeking professional advice from an accountant or tax adviser. 

Information about holiday pay and unpaid sabbatical or unpaid leave has been updated. Click here.  

Tier posters: Medium, High and Very High: Tier posters have been updated to reflect the latest information. To access the posters click here

Travel

Test to Release for international travel goes live: Passengers arriving into England from 15 December 2020, will be able to choose to pay for a private test and potentially shorten their self-isolation as the government’s testing strategy for international arrivals goes live. The earliest you can take the test is 5 full days after you left a place not on the travel corridor list. Check for more information on the scheme’s strategy and how it works. 

Updates to the travel corridor list  

The Canary Islands were removed from the exempt list at 4am Saturday 12 December:  

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

Botswana and Saudi Arabia were added to the exempt list at 4am Saturday 12 December. 

If you arrived in England from Botswana or Saudi Arabia before 4am Saturday 12 December, you would need to self-isolate.  

National Cyber Security Centre Announcement - SolarWinds and FireEye

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has released an advisory relating to compromise of SolarWinds and FireEye. It can be accessed here

SolarWinds, specifically their Orion IT system management platform, has been compromised and may be used for onward attacks against systems connected to the product. An attacker has been able to add a malicious, unauthorised modification to SolarWinds Orion products which allows them to send administrator-level commands to any affected installation. Please take time to review the advice provided above and see if you or key elements of your organisation (such as any managed service providers you are connected to) are affected. The NCSC guidance has detailed information that will help you find out if you have an affected system and the immediate steps you should take. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin - 10 December 2020

Temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the drivers’ hours rules: delivery of essential items to retailers

In response to pressures on local and national supply chains, the Department for Transport has introduced a temporary and limited urgent relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales.  This temporary relaxation will apply from 12:01am on 10 December 2020 and will run until 11:59pm on 30 December 2020.  

Find out about who the relaxation applies to and information on using the relaxation here

Business evictions ban extended until March 2021

Business owners affected by the pandemic will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021. This final extension to protections from the threat of eviction will give landlords and tenants 3 months to come to an agreement on unpaid rent. Further guidance to support negotiations between landlords and tenants will also be published shortly. A review of commercial landlord and tenant legislation has also been announced, to address concerns that the current framework does not reflect the current economic conditions. More information is available here

The UK Transition: Time is Running Out

With just 22 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

Quarantine Exception for a senior executive working in England, bringing significant economic benefit to the UK: Senior executives can temporarily leave quarantine in England if they are undertaking business activities which are likely to be of significant economic benefit to the UK. Find out who is exempted; how to comply with the exemption and examples of activity that would or would not likely to qualify for an exemption here

Updated Guidance

Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: This scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of March 2021 for all parts of the UK.  

  • From 1 November, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The terms of the scheme will be reviewed in January. 
  • You must continue to pay the associated employer National Insurance contributions and any pension contributions from your own funds. 
  • You and your employees do not need to have benefitted from the scheme before, to claim for periods after 1 November. 
  • There are now monthly deadlines for claims. This means that you may need to submit earlier than you have in previous months. 
  • You must submit any claims for November, no later than 14 December

The full guidance for claims from November onwards, including how you can check if you’re eligible and how to calculate and make a claim online, can be found here

Working safely during coronavirus updates: 

  • for Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway: guidance on Tier 3 restrictions to clarify that customers can enter the premises to place or collect any type of order between 5am and 11pm has been updated. See the ‘What’s changed’ section for further information, here
  • Labs and research facilities page has been updated to clarify that workplace canteens open to staff only do not need to collect data for NHS Test and Trace. See the ‘What’s changed’ section for further information here
  • Shops and branches – Updated guidance to clarify that betting shops must keep a record of all customers, visitors and staff and that workplace canteens open to staff only do not need to collect data for NHS Test and Trace. See the ‘What’s changed’ section for further information here

What you can and cannot do in areas in Tier 1 and Tier 2 of local restrictions- Check updated information on visiting venues and added links to guidance on which businesses and venues are permitted to be open in both Tier 1 and Tier 2:  

Guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus: this page has been updated with a section ‘Early outbreak management action card example’. Check updated information contained within the “action card” here 

PPE portal- How to order Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): The page is updated with order limits for domiciliary care providers. Eligible health and social care providers can order PPE through the portal to meet the increased need that has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current order limits for different types and sizes of eligible health and social care providers can be found here

Health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce: This page has been updated to reflect current guidance on health and wellbeing and the new local tier restrictions. This advice is for those working in adult social care on managing their mental health and how employers can take care of the wellbeing of their staff during the coronavirus outbreak. Check the update

Statutory Sick Pay eligibility for those self-isolating or shielding due to coronavirus: 

  • If your employee is sick or incapable of work, you must pay them a minimum of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), where they are eligible. 
  • If your employee is clinically extremely vulnerable and cannot work because they have received a notification advising them to shield, you can furlough them under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if you are eligible to do so. As a minimum, you must pay them SSP, where they are eligible.  
  • You must pay SSP from the first day of your employee’s absence from work if they are self-isolating due to COVID-19. This could be because:  
    • They are displaying symptoms of, or have tested positive for, COVID-19  
    • Someone in their household (including linked or extended household) is displaying symptoms of, or has tested positive for COVID-19  
    • They have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.  
  • Your employee may be required to self-isolate multiple times. Each time they are required to self-isolate “provided all eligibility criteria are met” they must receive SSP for the duration of their absence
  • Small and medium employers can reclaim up to two weeks of SSP paid per employee for absences related to COVID-19.  

Level 3 Qualifications offer and update on Skills Bootcamps

Department for Education Announces: Level 3 qualifications offer and update on Skills Bootcamps 

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee aims to transform the adult education system. As part of this: 

  • from April 2021, adults without A Levels (or equivalent) will be eligible to study for a fully-funded Level 3 qualification. There are nearly 400 courses available in sectors from engineering and construction, to conservation, child development or business and accounting.  
  • Additionally, new Skills Bootcamps offer flexible courses of just 12-16 weeks, giving adults aged 19+, the opportunity to build sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. These short digital and technical courses will enable employers to play a leading role in the skills system and fill skills gaps at local levels. Currently available in six regions, Skills Bootcamps will expand into new areas and subjects in 2021. For more information visit  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-skills-fund

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

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 

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

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin - 26 November 2020

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, sets out England’s new coronavirus tier system

The full list of local restriction tiers by area from Wednesday 2 December 2020 is available here

Decisions on which area goes into which tier are primarily based on 5 key epidemiological indicators: case detection rates in all age groups; case detection rates in the over-60s; the rate at which cases are rising or falling; positivity rate, and; pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.  

The changes to the tiers are as follows: 

  • in tier 1, the government will reinforce the importance that, where people can work from home, they should do so 
  • in tier 2, hospitality settings that serve alcohol must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals 
  • in tier 3, hospitality will close except for delivery, drive-through and takeaway, hotels and other accommodation providers must close (except for specific exemptions, such as people staying for work purposes, where people are attending a funeral, or where they cannot return home) and indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bowling allies must also close. Elite sport will be played without spectators. Organised outdoor sport can resume, but the Government will advise against higher risk contact sports 

Find out more information on tiers, including information for businesses and venues. The government will review the allocations every 14 days, with the first review complete by the end of 16 December. 

Spending Review to fight virus, and invest in UK’s recovery

Yesterday, 25 November 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the spending review. The government will provide billions of pounds in the fight against coronavirus, and invest in the UK’s recovery. Headlines for businesses are: 

  • National Infrastructure Strategy: The £4bn Levelling Up Fund, to transform the UK’s infrastructure network, is based around three objectives: economic recovery; levelling up and strengthening the Union; and meeting the UK’s net zero emissions target by 2050. This will be enabled by clear support for private investment and through a comprehensive set of reforms to the way infrastructure is delivered. 
  • Business rates multiplier: The business rates multiplier will be frozen in 2021-22, saving businesses in England £575 million over the next five years. 
  • Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee: £375m skills package to help adults without A-Level or equivalent qualifications access free, fully funded further education courses. 
  • Kickstart Scheme: £1.6bn for the Kickstart scheme which is designed to help young people (16 – 24 year olds) claiming universal credit find work placements. 
  • Restart Scheme: £2.9bn for the three year Restart Scheme, to help more than one million people who have been unemployed for over a year, find new work. 
  • National Living Wage: The National Living wage is being increased by 2.2%, to £8.91 an hour. This rate is being extended to those aged 23 and over. 

To view the chancellor’s speech, click here, and for further details on the spending review, click here

The UK Transition: Time is Running Out

With just 36 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

UK-wide Christmas arrangements agreed by the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations: The joint arrangements for an easing of social restriction that will allow friends and loved ones to reunite over the Christmas period is here. Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing, more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout this period. 

How your trading conditions affect your eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: This guide applies to businesses if they have been impacted by reduced demand, activity, or capacity due to coronavirus.

Find out what we mean by reduced demand or temporary closure – and read examples of how this could affect business eligibility here

Updated Guidance 

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: This page has been updated with information for the third grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. If you are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been impacted by coronavirus, find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant