27 MAY 2020 / COVID-19 BUSINESS NEWS UPDATE
PRIME MINISTER SETS OUT TIMELINE FOR RETAIL TO REOPEN IN JUNE
Prime Minister Boris Johnson sets out a timeline for retail to reopen in June.
Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England are set to reopen next month once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed today.
The Prime Minister has set out:
- Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing.
- All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.
Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.
The government is taking action to help businesses re-open and protect their staff and customers, including:
Publishing updated COVID-secure guidelines for people who work in or run shops, branches, and stores, after consultation with businesses, union leaders, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.
Working with local authorities to continue to carry out spot checks and follow up on concerns by members of the public.
The updated guidance considers the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers which have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in store. Measures that shops should consider include placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures, storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor, placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas, and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals, for example.
The vast majority of businesses will want to do everything possible to protect their staff and customers, but tough powers are in place to enforce action if they do not, including fines and jail sentences of up to two years.
As per the roadmap, hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.
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GENERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS
Over the Bank holiday weekend, the Government has been busy outlining new funding and changes to legislation. Below is a summary of key announcements. Please scan through these as some will be important to you, your business, and your loved ones.
Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and cannot do
The most frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak.
Business support grant funding – guidance for local authorities
Guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).
Reallocating road space in response to COVID-19: statutory guidance for local authorities
Guidance for local authorities on managing their road networks in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Advice to local authorities on reallocating road space to:
- encourage cycling and walking
- enable social distancing
in response to COVID-19 issues. This statutory guidance is made under section 18 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.
Guidance on the phased return of sport and recreation
Guidance for the public, providers of outdoor sport facilities, elite athletes, personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation.
Staying safe outside your home
This guidance sets out the principles you should follow to ensure that time spent with others outside your home is as safe as possible. If you are clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, you should follow the guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people and you can also get support.
Remote education during coronavirus
Information, guidance and support for teachers and leaders on educating children during the coronavirus outbreak.
This page and information for parents will be updated regularly to include further resources and reflect the latest information and developments.
PM confirms schools, colleges, and nurseries on track to begin phased reopening
Schools, colleges, and nurseries across England remain on track to open to more children from 1 June, the Prime Minister confirmed today (24 May 2020).
Primary schools will welcome back children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, while nurseries and other early years providers will begin welcoming back children of all ages.
Secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will also provide face-to-face contact for Year 10, Year 12 and equivalent 16-19 further education students to help them prepare for exams next year. It is expected this will begin from 15 June, with around a quarter of these secondary students in at any point.
Additional funding for local authorities to support new test and trace service
Local authorities will be central to supporting the new test and trace service across England, with the government providing a new funding package of £300 million.
Each local authority will be given funding to develop tailored outbreak control plans, working with local NHS and other stakeholders.
Work on the plans will start immediately. Their plans will focus on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in places such as workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools.
Financial support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to respond to coronavirus
The government has pledged £750 million to ensure VCSE can continue their vital work supporting the country during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including £200 million for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, along with an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts.
£50 million Funding to support the recovery of high streets
The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to get people back to work and customers back to the shops.
To prepare for the reopening of non-essential retail when the scientific advice allows, the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.
It will also support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers. This will help get businesses get ready for when they can begin trading safely, not only in high streets and town and city centres, but also in other public spaces like beachfronts and promenades.
Councils will also be able to use this money to develop local marketing campaigns to explain the changes to the public and reassure them that their high streets and other commercial areas are safe.
It is the government’s ambition to reopen non-essential retail in a phased way from 1 June, subject to the scientific advice. The government will set out further detail on how and when these can reopen safely shortly.
Reopening High Streets Safely Fund guidance
Guidance to help local authorities and partners to deliver activities supported through the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.
Additional funding to support Citizens Advice service
Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland to receive funding of up to £15 million to help them deal with increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plans announced for London’s Covid-19 recovery
A new London Transition Board will co-ordinate London’s response as it emerges from the lockdown and begins to reopen its economy while controlling the virus.
Transport Secretary announces new measures to “keep passengers safe now and level up for the future”
Funding to protect and increase transport services, level up infrastructure and regenerate local economies after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- additional funding to increase frequency and capacity of bus, tram and light rail services, to help people travel safely
- further investment in railways to regenerate local economies and level up Britain
- preferred route announced for £1 billion upgrade to major road link which runs across Northern Powerhouse, from Teeside to Cumbria.
Safer travel guidance for passengers
Walking, cycling, and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak.
Guidance on accessing green spaces safely
This guidance sets out the key principles of enjoying the benefits of being outside, while protecting yourself and others from coronavirus.
The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others outdoors is considered to be low as long as people maintain social distancing.
In England you can leave your home to exercise and spend time outdoors for recreation.
When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.
In England, you can now:
- spend time outdoors, including exercise, alone, with your household, or with one person who is not in your household as long as you stay two metres apart
- exercise more than once a day
- take part in other outdoor sports and activities, including fishing – on your own, with your household, or with one other person while adhering to social distancing rules
- drive to outdoor open spaces, including beaches and beauty spots, irrespective of distance – you should travel in a private vehicle, alone or with members of your own household
- visit gardens and land maintained for public use as an alternative open space to spend time outdoors, although buildings and amenities such as cafes will remain closed and access may be limited to members or those with tickets to ensure social distancing. You should check ahead and follow social distancing guidelines
- go swimming in either lakes or the sea as part of daily exercise provided that social distancing guidelines are observed – you cannot use public indoor and outdoor pools
- all forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed – you can continue to use towpaths for walking, running and cycling, being mindful of other users and people living in boats along the water
There are no restrictions on how far you can travel to get to the countryside. However, you should not stay overnight. Campsites and caravan parks are closed, and you cannot visit a holiday or second home.
To stay safe, you must:
- take hygiene precautions when you are outside
- wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors
- keep at least two metres apart from anyone outside your household at all times
- take hand sanitiser with you when you set off in case there are no handwashing facilities
Essential international travel guidance
This page provides guidance on travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel.
Providing home care
The document brings together guidance for social care staff, registered providers, local authorities and commissioners who support and deliver care to people in their own homes in England.
- personal protective equipment
- shielding and care groups
- hospital discharge and testing
- government support for social care
- information collection and governance
Travellers exempt from UK border rules
This guidance explains who will be exempt from new UK border rules introduced due to coronavirus. The rules will apply to travellers to the UK from 8 June 2020.
Some travellers will be exempt from new UK border rules introduced to due to coronavirus. This means they may not need to provide their journey or contact details or self-isolate for 14 days after they arrive in the UK.
Support for care homes
The government has announced a new care homes support package backed by a £600 million adult social care infection control fund. This has been introduced to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in care homes. This guidance provides information on the support package.
The government has written to councils and care providers outlining the details of the support package and has provided additional advice and resources to help stop the spread of infection.
Monitoring emissions from some environmental permitting activities: RPS C7
When you can delay and reschedule some emissions to air and water monitoring and other environmental monitoring because of COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions.
This COVID-19 regulatory position statement (RPS) applies to the following activities permitted under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations (2016):
- waste operations
- radioactive substances (nuclear or non-nuclear) activities
- water discharge and groundwater activities
We normally expect all permit holders to comply in full with all the conditions in their permits. This includes conditions requiring them to monitor emissions to air and water and do other environmental monitoring.
If you follow the conditions in this COVID-19 RPS, you can make certain reasonable adjustments to those monitoring requirements. For example, you can delay and reschedule some of those specified in your permit.
This COVID-19 RPS only applies if you cannot comply with the monitoring requirements specified in your permit due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.
You must get written agreement from the Environment Agency before you use this COVID-19 RPS.