Coronavirus Outbreak FAQs: What you can and can’t do
This is national guidance that applies to England only – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK. If you live in an area that is experiencing a local COVID-19 outbreak and where local restrictions have been imposed, different guidance and legislation will apply. Please consult the local restrictions page to see if any restrictions are in place in your area.
Government Reaches Deals with US-based Company to Deliver 250,000 Clear Face Masks
A quarter of a million clear face masks are to be delivered to NHS and social care workers on the frontline to support those who use lip-reading and facial expressions to communicate.
Using QR Codes for Venues via the NHS Test and Trace App
Office for Life Sciences would welcome your feedback on the guidance that has been published to date so that we can work with colleagues across Government to ensure that the information is as comprehensive and clear as possible.
Guidance on Safe Working During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Executive Summary – Guidance on safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic
The current COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way people live and work.
As the pandemic impacted different regions, many countries faced a sudden ‘lockdown’. With populations confined to their own homes, organizations of all types had to change the way they operated or shut down entirely, with little or no time to prepare. Following the initial global crisis, a cycle is emerging: outbreaks are controlled and restrictions are eased, new clusters of cases emerge and restrictions need to be reintroduced.
This means a rethink of what was previously considered normal, and ensuring plans are in place to respond rapidly if restrictions are introduced, changed or eased at short notice.
Capturing the lessons learned as we progress through the phases of the pandemic is crucial. Whilst economic considerations are important, the fundamental principle of protecting human life underpins all economic recovery.
All organizations face questions from their customers, suppliers, investors and the general public. The most important stakeholders for the success of an organization, however, are the workers. Planning how to mitigate the effects of the pandemic is therefore crucial in order to protect workers, provide reassurance to other interested parties and to protect the organization’s reputation.
Building on, and complementing, formal guidance issued by governments and other trusted sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO), BSI has developed this set of guidelines to assist organizations as they adjust the way they work, and to protect workers, and the people they come into contact through work, from the ongoing risks.
The Guidelines are a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased risk this disease presents to the health, safety and well-being of people in all settings, including whilst working and in the workplace.
Governments, regulators and other professional bodies across the world have published guidance on working safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document aims to provide a single generic set of guidelines that complement this information and support the principle that workers should not be required to work unless all reasonable measures have been taken to manage work-related COVID-19 risks.
The Guidelines includes practical recommendations to organizations and workers on how to manage these risks and is suitable for organizations resuming operations, those that have been operational throughout the pandemic, and those that are starting operations.
These Guidelines have been produced by BSI with input from experts from a broad range of sectors. They provide a general framework for safe working during the pandemic, to protect people from work-related risks from COVID-19.
Benefits of using these guidelines
Provides a single source of agreed good practice and accurate advice, based on current knowledge.
Supports comprehensive risk assessment.
Provides practical examples for ways of managing risks.
Enables organizations to plan in a similar way across multiple sites and for multiple types of workers performing different activities and roles.
Helps organizations to manage the risk of communicable diseases and can reduce sickness absence due to seasonal and other illness (e.g. common colds, influenza, gastric illness).
Assists organizations in developing a response plan to enable rapid adjustments if risk levels or operating restrictions change at short notice.
Key points applicable to all organizations
Enhancing hygiene and enabling physical distancing are the most effective controls against communicable disease.
Minimizing the number of people in a physical workplace, and physical interaction between people, reduces the risks to workers, customers and the community.
Involving workers in decisions about managing risks leads to better engagement and performance.
Facilitating and supporting remote working enables organizations to better manage the risks to people who need to be on-site.
Managing the psychological health and well-being of workers is as important as protecting physical health and safety.
Managing the health and safety of people working remotely is critical to mitigate the impacts of ergonomic, psychosocial and other risks.
Providing effective and regular communication to workers and other relevant people is critical for success.
Ensuring ongoing planning, monitoring and adaptation of safety measures enables organizations to avoid the risk of transmission rising due to complacency or familiarity.
Maintaining and retaining accurate records of people who work closely together and customers in relevant sectors (e.g. restaurants, pubs) enables effective contact tracing.
Providing effective leadership and developing a transparent, supportive and open culture helps organizations to manage the risks related to COVID-19 and enhances an organization’s ability to continue operations without severe disruption.
You can still qualify if you started your job recently and you have not received 8 weeks’ pay yet. Ask your employer to find out more.
Linked periods of sickness
If you have regular periods of sickness, they may count as ‘linked’. To be linked, the periods must:
last 4 or more days each
be 8 weeks or less apart
You’re no longer eligible for SSP if you have a continuous series of linked periods that lasts more than 3 years.
Fit notes and asking for proof
You only have to give your employer a fit note (sometimes called a sick note) if you’re off sick for more than 7 days in a row (including non-working days).
You can get a fit note from your GP or hospital doctor. If your employer agrees, a similar document can be provided by a physiotherapist, podiatrist or occupational therapist instead. This is called an Allied Health Professional (AHP) Health and Work Report.
Proof if you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus
If you’re self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus, you can get an ‘isolation note’ online from NHS 111 if you’re off work for 7 or more days. You do not have to go to your GP or a hospital.
If you have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling you to take extra precautions because you’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (known as ‘shielding’), it will include the period you should shield for. The letter is proof of your eligibility for SSP for days away from work in that period.
You may get more than one letter covering more than one shielding period. Contact your GP if you do not have a letter but think you should have one.
If you’ve been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus, your notification is proof.
A revamped COVID-19 tracker app begins trials today on the Isle of Wight and among NHS volunteer emergency responders. The London Borough of Newham, which with Brent saw most COVID-19 deaths in the capital at the peak of the pandemic, will also be a trial site.
Over the coming days, people living on the Isle of Wight will receive a one-time activation code through the post, which will enable them to download the app. NHS volunteer emergency responders will be contacted by email.
The app is part of England’s NHS Test and Trace service, and works with both iPhones and Android devices.
The app will log the time and distance someone has spent near to anyone, even if they don’t know them. If that person later tests positive for COVID-19, the app will alert them and help them book a test. The app will also give users the risk level in their area based on their postcode, and if you have to self-isolated it will provide a countdown of the days before you can resume your normal activities.
Practical Steps to Support Safe Working and Prevent and Mitigate COVID-19 Outbreaks in your Organization
The current COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way people live and work. As the pandemic spread and began to impact different regions, many countries faced a sudden ‘lockdown’. With populations confined to their own homes, organizations of all types had to change the way they operated or shut down entirely, with little or no time to prepare. Following the initial global crisis, a potential cycle is emerging: outbreaks are controlled and restrictions are eased, new clusters of cases emerge and restrictions need to be reintroduced.
Future Planning of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Supply
The PPE Demand & Strategy team at the Department of Health and Social Care is looking at the use of PPE across the social care sector in order to inform future planning. The feedback deadline is the 7th August.
The Scottish Government has outlined exemptions for the wearing of face coverings in public.
The exemption guidelines state that people are exempt from wearing face coverings if it causes them difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety to wear one. There are various reasons why an autistic person might find face coverings distressing, such as:
The feeling it has on their skin
A sudden change to their normal routine
Not being able to see parts of their own or others’ faces
UK COVID-19 Rapid Antibody Tests are Approved for Professional Use
The COVID-19 rapid antibody test, developed by Abingdon Health, the medical device manufacturer leading the UK-Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC), has received its CE mark. This means it is approved for professional use in the UK and EU.
This milestone means the rapid test, for detection of IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) is now available for distribution for professional use. It will be mass produced and tests will be rolled out from the end of August. The test can be administered by healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists and healthcare workers.
Following production of tens of thousands of tests across multiple production scale batches the test has been shown to be 99.40% accurate. Testing was performed at the Ulster University and at the laboratories of Abingdon Health.
The test will be named the “AbC-19 Rapid Test”. It uses a small drop of blood from a finger-prick, and shows results in 20 minutes, without the need to send a sample to a lab. To understand how the test works, Abingdon Health has released a new video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqT2z8jCEHs.
The test can help build a swift and clear picture of how the virus has spread throughout mass populations. Itcan also help establish the effectiveness of any vaccine which provides protection by creating new antibodies. This information will be critical to managing current and future outbreaks of COVID-19.
Abingdon Health will begin to manufacture and ramp up production in August. The firm will produce 500,000 COVID-19 antibody tests a month from October and one million a month from January 2021. In total, the UK-RTC can manufacture 10m tests within a six-month period.
University of Warwick Medical School Virologist Professor Lawrence Youngsaid: “A routine, reliable and easy-to-use test for COVID-19 antibodies will revolutionise our understanding of the coronavirus infection. For the first time it will allow us to get an accurate picture of who has been infected with the virus and help us to determine the level of protection induced by previous infection. It will also be a vital tool in determining the efficacy of any vaccine, particularly timely as some of the vaccines are now entering large scale phase III clinical trials.”
New Package of Measures and ‘Better Health’ Campaign Announced to Help People Lose Weight
New obesity strategy unveiled as country urged to lose weight to beat coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect the NHS.
Ban on TV and online adverts for food high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
End of deals like ‘buy one get one free’ on unhealthy food high in salt, sugar and fat
Calories to be displayed on menus to help people make healthier choices when eating out – while alcoholic drinks could soon have to list hidden ‘liquid calories’
New campaign to help people lose weight, get active and eat better after COVID-19 ‘wake-up call’
A raft of measures have been revealed as part of the government’s new obesity strategy to get the nation fit and healthy, protect themselves against COVID-19 and protect the NHS.
Obesity is one of the biggest health crises the country faces. Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity – and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese, with obesity-related illnesses costing the NHS £6 billion a year.
The urgency of tackling the obesity time bomb has been brought to the fore by evidence of the link to an increased risk from COVID-19.
Living with excess weight puts people at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, with risk growing substantially as body mass index (BMI) increases. Nearly 8% of critically ill patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units have been morbidly obese, compared with 2.9% of the general population.
As the government continues to respond to this unprecedented global pandemic, ministers will today set out a comprehensive package of measures to help people take control of their own future by losing weight, getting active and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Rather than focusing primarily on childhood obesity, the strategy represents a new focus on empowering adults to lose weight as well.
This plan is being launched alongside an exciting new ‘Better Health’ campaign, led by Public Health England (PHE), which will call on people to embrace a healthier lifestyle and to lose weight if they need to, supported by a range of evidence-based tools and apps providing advice on how to reduce the waistline.
The measures in this world-leading plan include:
banning unhealthy food adverts – new laws will ban the advertising of food high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) on television and online before 9pm when children are most likely to see them. Ahead of this, the government will also hold a new short consultation on whether the ban on online adverts for HFSS, should apply at all times of day. Analysis published by Cancer Research UK from September 2019 shows that almost half (47.6%) of all food adverts shown over the month on ITV1, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky1 were for products high in fat, sugar and salt. This rises to almost 60% during the 6pm to 9pm slot – the time slot where children’s viewing peaks. Evidence shows that exposure to HFSS advertising can affect what and when children eat, both in the short term and the longer term by shaping children’s preferences at a young age. This is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
ending ‘buy one, get one free’ (BOGOF) promotions – new legislation will restrict the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar, such as ‘buy one get one free’ offers. There will also be a ban on these items being placed in prominent locations in stores, such as at checkouts and entrances, and online. In the UK we spend more buying food products on promotion than any other European country and a survey from 2018 shows that around 43% of all food and drink products located in prominent areas were for sugary foods and drinks, compared to just 1% for healthy items. Shops will be encouraged to promote healthier choices and offer more discounts on food like fruit and vegetables
calorie labelling – new laws will require large restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 employees to add calorie labels to the food they sell. Research shows eating out is becoming more common, particularly among families, with 75% of people visiting a restaurant, fast food eatery or getting a takeaway in the past week, compared to 69% in 2010. However, there is often a lack of information about the calorie content of these items and research suggests people consume around 200 more calories a day if they eat out compared to food prepared at home. This new measure will help people make healthier, informed choices as part of a balanced diet
alcohol calorie labelling – a new consultation will be launched before the end of the year on plans to provide calorie labelling on alcohol. Alcohol consumption has been estimated to account for nearly 10% of the calorie intake of those who drink, with around 3.4 million adults consuming an additional days’ worth of calories each week – totalling an additional two months of food each year. But research shows the majority of the public (80%) is unaware of the calorie content of common drinks and many typically underestimate the true content. It is hoped alcohol labelling could lead to a reduction in consumption, improving people’s health and reducing their waistline
expanding NHS services – weight management services will be expanded so more people get the support they need to lose weight. This will include more self-care apps and online tools for people with obesity-related conditions and accelerating the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. From next year doctors will be offered incentives to ensure people living with obesity is given support for weight loss and primary care staff will also have the opportunity to become ‘healthy weight coaches’ though training delivered by PHE. Separately, GPs will also be encouraged to prescribe exercise and more social activities to help people keep fit
front-of-pack nutritional labelling – we will launch a consultation to gather views and evidence on our current ‘traffic light’ labelling system to learn more about how this is being used by consumers and industry, compared to international examples. Our ‘traffic light’ scheme is popular, with 90% of consumers agreeing it helps them make informed decisions when purchasing food. Research shows that people who look at front of pack nutritional labelling are shown to have healthier shopping baskets, fewer calories, less sugar, fat and salt content and higher fibre content
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said:
Losing weight is hard but with some small changes we can all feel fitter and healthier.
If we all do our bit, we can reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirus – as well as taking pressure off the NHS.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
Everyone knows how hard losing weight can be so we are taking bold action to help everyone who needs it. When you’re shopping for your family or out with friends, it’s only fair that you are given the right information about the food you’re eating to help people to make good decisions.
To help support people we need to reduce unhelpful influences like promotions and adverts that affect what you buy and what you eat. Taken together, supported by an inspiring campaign and new smart tools, will get the country eating healthily and losing the pounds.
We know obesity increases the risk of serious illness and death from coronavirus – so it’s vital we take action on obesity to protect the NHS and improve our nation’s health.
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE, said:
These plans are ambitious and rightly so. Tackling obesity will help prevent serious illness and save lives.
The main reason we put on weight is because of what we eat and drink, but being more active is important too. Making healthier choices easier and fairer for everyone, and ensuring the right support is there for those who need it, is critical in tackling obesity.
These bold measures will help us tip the scales on obesity. The argument for action is the clearest it’s ever been.
Overconsumption of calories is one of the most significant contributing factors in becoming overweight. Figures show many adults are consuming 200 to 300 extra calories a day above recommended daily guidelines with children who are already overweight are consuming up to 500 calories more than they need every day.
The environment we live in plays a significant role in tackling obesity: the information they are given to make those choices, the choices we are offered, and the influences that shape those choices. This will support individual choice and give families a fairer chance to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.
The measures set out today signal a clear commitment from the government to support individual efforts and kickstart a national effort to tackle obesity.
This measure is widely supported by the public, with polling from 2019 shows that 72% of public support a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts during popular family TV shows and that 70% support a 9pm watershed online as well as academics, health and medical organisations.
Volume promotions like BOGOFs appear to be mechanisms to help shoppers save money, however data shows that they actually increase the amount we spend by encouraging people to buy more than they need or intended to buy in the first place. We buy almost 20% more than we otherwise would.
Face Coverings to be Mandatory in Shops and Supermarkets from 24 July – Oral Statement to Parliament
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock spoke about plans to make face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July 2020.
Thank you very much Mr Deputy Speaker, and with permission, I would like to make a statement about coronavirus.
Thanks to one of the greatest national efforts in peace time, this deadly virus continues to diminish.
Yesterday’s figures show 530 new cases, down 90% since the peak.
162 patients are currently in mechanical ventilator beds with coronavirus – down around 95% since the peak.
The latest number of deaths recorded in all settings across the UK is 11 – the lowest figure since 13 March.
And according to today’s ONS data, for the third consecutive week, total deaths are lower than normal for this time of year.
Due to this substantial progress, we have been able to restore freedoms and carefully and methodically restore the fabric of this country.
However, we cannot let our progress today lead to complacency tomorrow and so we must remain vigilant to keep this virus under control.
Our strategy is to protect the NHS, get the virus down, and keep the virus down, while restoring as much of normal life as possible and our tactic is to replace national lockdown with ever more targeted local action as we work hard to defeat this virus once and for all.
Our NHS Test and Trace system gets stronger all the time and since launch 6 weeks ago, 144,000 people have now been asked to self-isolate, who otherwise simply wouldn’t have known that they had to.
Where we find clusters or outbreaks we take local action – tackling over 100 incidents a week. Mostly these are small, in an individual care home, or pub, or factory. But we are also prepared to take action on a wider basis if that’s what it takes, just as we did in Leicester.
Four permanent test sites and 10 Mobile Testing Units have been deployed across the city, meaning that Leicester now has the highest rate of testing in the country.
We have launched one of the biggest communications programmes that Leicester has ever seen – including targeted social media posts, website banners, radio ads, billboards and even bin stickers. And we have been working closely with all parts of the local community, including community leaders, local businesses, and the local football and cricket clubs, to get the message out.
We’ve also established a process for making decisions to lift the lockdown, with the first decision point later this week.
Mr Deputy Speaker, local action is one way in which we control the spread of the virus, while minimising the economic and social costs.
Another is to minimise the risk as we return more to normality. In recent weeks, we have reopened retail and footfall is rising. We want to give people more confidence to shop safely, and enhance protections for those who work in shops.
Both of these can be done by the use of face coverings. Sadly, sales assistants, cashiers and security guards have suffered disproportionately in this crisis.
The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher among men, and 60% higher among women than in the general population. So as we restore shopping, so we must keep our shopkeepers safe.
There is also evidence that face coverings increase confidence in people to shop.
The British Retail Consortium has said that together with other social distancing measures, face coverings can make shoppers feel even more confident about returning to the high street. And the Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses has said that small firms know that mandatory face coverings have a part to play, and I quote, “in the nation’s recovery both physically and financially”… And that he is “sure this [measure] will be welcomed”.
We have therefore come to the decision that face coverings should be mandatory in shops and supermarkets.
Last month, we made face coverings mandatory on public transport and in NHS settings.
This has been successful in giving people more confidence to go on public transport and to a hospital setting when they need to.
Providing people with additional protection when they are not able to keep 2 metres from others, particularly people they do not normally come into contact with.
Under the new rules, people who do not wear a face covering will face a fine of up to £100, in line with the sanction on public transport and just as with public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.
The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual.
Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply, the police have the formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine.
This is in line with how shops would normally manage their customers and enforcement is of course a last resort, and we fully expect the public to comply with the rules as they have done throughout the pandemic.
I want to give this message to everyone who has been making vital changes to their daily lives, for the greater good.
Wearing a face covering does not mean that we can ignore the other measures that have been so important in slowing the spread of this virus.
Washing your hands. Following the rules on social distancing and just as the British people have acted so selflessly throughout this pandemic, I have no doubt they will rise to this once more.
Mr Deputy Speaker, as a nation, we have made huge strides in getting this virus, which has brought grief to so many, under control.
We are not out of the woods yet.
So let’s all of us do our upmost to keep this virus cornered, and enjoy summer safely.
A Brief Guide to Controlling Risks in the Workplace
This revised leaflet aims to help you identify, assess and control health and safety risks associated with workplace hazards – the guidance replaces ‘Five steps to risk assessment’.
It is mainly aimed at employers, managers and others with responsibility for health and safety, and will also be useful to employees and safety representatives.
The new guidance makes clear that only significant findings need to be recorded and emphasises the importance of controlling the risks identified. However, the guidance still suggests that you should identify the hazards, think about who might be harmed, evaluate the risks, record your significant findings and review your risk assessment.
If you have previously used ‘Five steps’ to carry out your own risk assessment there is no need to repeat it. You should review your risk assessment if you think it is no longer valid or if there are any significant changes.
Thousands of Business Advisers to Offer Free Services to Small Firms
Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers have signed up to offer free online advice to help small businesses bounce back from coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Recovery Advice for Business scheme, supported by the government and hosted on the Enterprise Nation website, will give small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery. The platform is now live.
Advice offered will include bespoke, specialist assistance from accountancy, legal, and advertising to marketing, recruitment and digital to help businesses adapt to difficult circumstances and to bounce back as the UK economy recovers.
Business experts, supported by the UK’s major professional and trade bodies, have rallied behind the government-backed initiative, with thousands of expert advisers already on hand and ready to do their bit to help small businesses recover and rebuild.
Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:
We have stood by small businesses throughout this crisis, offering a wide-ranging package of financial support. However, it is also important that business owners get easy access to expert advice and support.
It is incredible to see so many professional advisers stepping up to do their bit for small businesses across the country. This advice platform will help to boost our recovery from the impact of coronavirus, giving small businesses extra support to adapt their business models and come back fighting.
Emma Jones, founder of small business support network Enterprise Nation, said:
The COVID-19 pandemic has left thousands of SMEs facing a set of completely new challenges now and into the future. There has never been a more important time for firms to turn to the trusted advice of a professional and start on a path to recovery.
We’ve been overwhelmed and astonished by the generosity of the adviser community, thousands of whom have stepped forward to give their time and knowledge to revive, guide and support the nation’s small businesses through the pandemic to regain the momentum and restore the economic confidence with which we started the year.
Running a business can be isolating at the best of times, and this initiative will mean founders will not have to face the future alone.
Each adviser has offered at least one hour of free advice a month until the end of 2020 which could deliver a lifeline to thousands of SMEs looking for support.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales (ICAEW), the Advertising Association, the Law Society and the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) are among the professional bodies to have signed up for the scheme.
Tamzen Isacsson, Chief Executive of the Management Consultancies Association, said:
Despite lockdown, our consultants have been supporting private and public sector clients across the UK enabling businesses to recover, deliver critical new services and plan for an uncertain future. We’re proud to be supporting this joint initiative to help restore the UK back to economic growth and help advise small businesses which are the backbone of our economy.
Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:
The CIPD is delighted to partner with Enterprise Nation to launch the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic people professionals have been at the heart of the organisational response in these challenging times. This new scheme is an important step forward in supporting small firms through the next stages of the crisis.
The CIPD is calling on its members who are independent consultants and have experience in working with small firms to help by volunteering an hour of their time per month to advise on people and organisational challenges. We hope we can play our part as a profession to help lessen the devastating impact the coronavirus crisis could have on businesses of all sizes.
Mark Fox, Chief Executive of the Business Services Association (BSA) said:
Supporting Britain’s SMEs is vital to economic rebuilding and the levelling up agenda. BSA members large and small, and from the private and VCSE sectors, stand ready to help.
It is critical that everyone now draws together in common endeavour, just as they did during the pandemic. Our sector has been helping keep the country going during lockdown and now has the capacity and reach to play its full part in recovery – supporting in particular those communities and sectors which have been particularly badly hit.
Sharron Gunn, BFP FCA, Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales, Executive Director, Members, Commercial & Shared Services, said:
Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, ICAEW Chartered Accountants have acted as trusted advisers to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Now, as companies seek to recover and rebuild, we are proud to support the Recovery Advice for Business scheme to better connect firms to the high-quality professional advice they need. Whether it’s cash flow management, tax advice or securing access to finance, I know our members will want to help any small businesses who may be struggling, and support the UK to get back on its feet.
Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association, said:
We are proud to be part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme. It is a huge opportunity for our industry to help Britain’s challenger brands and businesses as the economy rebuilds, supporting entrepreneurs to get their businesses back on track to fast growth and with real impact.
President of the Law Society of England and Wales, Simon Davis, said:
The coronavirus crisis has significantly impacted small businesses across the country, and now more than ever they need expert legal advice to help weather the storm.
I welcome this opportunity for solicitors to play their part in this effort to support the national recovery by offering valuable legal advice to small businesses.
How it works
Participating businesses will be directed to the scheme on the Enterprise Nation platform via the GOV.UK website and other business support channels.
Businesses will then be asked questions on the ‘Make a Plan’ diagnostic tool. This will allow Enterprise Nation to assess and identify both the level and specific areas of support needed.
They will then be directed to a personalised dashboard where they will receive a detailed action plan which will include links to suggested tailored advice and relevant professional advisers willing to help.
Advice will focus on key areas:
accounting and finance
people and building a team
planning, strategy and pivoting
marketing, PR and social media
Technology and digital tools
Over 12,000 advisers in the existing Enterprise Nation community are available to provide advice through the platform, with more new professional advisers being signed up specifically to support the scheme.
The scheme is open to small businesses and expert advisers throughout the UK.
Advisers will need to belong to a professional or trade body and hold valid Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) to join the platform and offer advice. They will then need their Trade Body Coupon Code, demonstrating their membership of a professional body, and the link to the Enterprise Nation adviser sign-up page. This will enable advisers to sign up as part of the programme, for free membership, for the duration of the programme until the end of December 2020. It will also ensure that all advice is provided by appropriate expert advisers.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Countries and Territories Exempt from Advice Against ‘All but Essential’ International Travel
The FCO updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers.
A Plan for Jobs 2020 – Policy Paper
The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest threat the UK has faced in decades. The virus has caused tens of thousands of deaths, has affected the lives of everyone in the country and has had a devastating effect on businesses.
Guidance on Safe Working During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Help prevent a second wave: Practical steps to support safe working, and prevent and mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks in your organization.
Foreign Travel Insurance
Wherever you’re travelling, it’s important to take out comprehensive travel insurance before you go.
If you already have a travel insurance policy, you should check what cover it provides for coronavirus-related events, including medical cover and travel disruption. If you are choosing a new policy, make sure you check how it covers these issues.
If you do not have appropriate insurance before you travel, you could be liable for emergency costs including medical treatment. We recommend you buy your travel insurance as soon as possible after booking your trip.
Wherever you’re travelling, getting the right travel insurance is one of the most important things to do before you go. It could save you and your family a lot of money and difficulty if things go wrong before or during your trip.
Travel insurance policies are designed to provide cover for many eventualities, including medical expenses, a trip being cut short or cancelled, and loss or theft of possessions.
This guidance aims to help you understand the key features of travel insurance and choose a policy that will meet your needs.
It is recommended to take out an insurance policy as soon as possible after booking your trip, to make sure you’re covered in the event of any changes before you depart.
When you travel, make sure you take details of your insurance policy with you, including your policy number and the emergency assistance telephone number provided by your insurer. Give a copy of your policy details to the people you’re travelling with and friends or family back home, in case they need to contact your insurance company on your behalf.
Choosing a travel insurance policy
Shop around for the best deal, but never buy a policy based on price alone. The cheapest policy may not cover all of your needs. Check that any policy you buy provides comprehensive cover for your pre-existing medical conditions and any activities or sports you’re planning to do.
When choosing a policy you should consider:
How often you travel
If you’ are planning more than one holiday in a year, consider buying an annual multi-trip policy. Single trip policies are usually more cost effective for older travellers and those with medical conditions.
If you already have travel insurance as part of a bank account or credit card, check the policy terms for any age or trip limits there may be, as well as ensuring the policy covers your health and other needs for each trip you make.
The length of your trip
Some annual policies may include limits for the number of days of each individual trip, or a maximum number of days’ travel over the course of the year. If you’re going away for a longer period, a gap year or backpacker policy may be more suitable.
Where you’re going
Some annual policies only cover destinations within Europe or exclude certain long-haul destinations. If you’re travelling further afield, make sure you buy a worldwide policy or a single trip policy for your specific destination.
Cruises generally require additional cover due to the difficulty in getting travellers to hospital for treatment. If you are going on a cruise, make sure your travel insurance covers this.
Many travel insurance policies will not cover you if you travel to a high risk destination (often defined as a place where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel or all travel), so make sure you check your policy wording and the relevant country travel advice pages for updates when booking your trip and buying insurance.
What you will be doing
If you will be taking part in certain sports or leisure activities you may need to top-up your cover or buy a specialist policy. See Adventure and sports activities.
What you’re taking
Your household contents insurance or other policies may cover loss of items you take away from home. If you have travel insurance as part of a bank account/credit card, this may already provide some cover for your possessions. In all cases, check the travel insurance policy limits and excesses are appropriate for the value of possessions you are taking on holiday. If you’re taking a number of high-value possessions, specialist mobile phone/gadget insurance may be more suitable as they typically provide higher cover limits.
All insurance policies say that you must take care of your belongings at all times. If you don’t, the policy may not pay out. Take as much care of your property as if it were uninsured.
You should report any loss to the police within 24 hours. Proof of notification will be required when you make your claim.
How many people you’re travelling with
If you’re travelling with others, a family or group policy may be suitable. When buying insurance on behalf of others, it’s important that you have access to any relevant medical details that you may be asked about. Some policies will apply an excess for each person when making a claim, so check the policy terms.
The cost of cancellation
If you’re booking an expensive holiday in advance, you may want the security of knowing you will be able to recover the costs if you’re unable to travel. Read through the circumstances where cancellation cover is provided, check that it meets the full cost of your holiday and look for any excesses.
Insurance can allow you to claim unused travel and accommodation costs that you are unable to recover elsewhere. When travelling at short notice, on a low cost holiday or with a flexible ticket, you may decide that you do not need cancellation cover at all.
If your trip is cancelled or significantly delayed, you may be entitled to compensation from the airline or a refund from the travel provider.
It’s still important to have emergency medical cover. If your trip is dependent upon the health of a non-travelling relative, you may need to answer questions about their medical history and pay to top up the cover.
What your travel insurance policy should cover
Health and medical emergencies
This is possibly the most important part of any travel insurance policy. If you do not take out adequate insurance, you will have to pay the costs of any emergency yourself.
A medical emergency in another country can be very expensive, for example:
£100,000: a stomach bug or infection treated in a hospital in the USA with return flights
£100,000: a stroke in south-east Asia, with emergency treatment and medical repatriation to the UK
£25,000: a moped accident in Greece, with surgery and repatriation to the UK
£15,000: a fall in Spain, resulting in a broken hip, hospital treatment and flights
Your travel insurance should cover:
emergency treatment and hospital bills, which can be expensive. Check whether your policy covers treatment in public or private hospitals.
emergency transport, such as ambulance fees or emergency repatriation on medical grounds
getting home after treatment if you cannot use your original ticket
reasonable costs for a family member or friend to stay with you or travel out to accompany you home if required
temporary emergency dental treatment for the relief of immediate pain
24-hour assistance helplines to offer support and advice about appropriate treatment
repatriation costs in the event of death abroad
Before you travel, make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer and answer questions about your medical history in full. See Policy exclusions.
If you are travelling in the European Economic Area or Switzerland, before 31 December 2020, you can apply for and continue to use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) during this time, as you did before. The EHIC gives you the right to access emergency state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in those countries.
Remember that the EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property. It is not valid on cruises.
If you will be taking part in certain sports or leisure activities, check your policy carefully to make sure you are covered for each specific activity. You may need to top-up your cover or buy a specialist policy.
Winter sports and more extreme sports such as bungee jumping, jet skiing, or skydiving are not typically included in standard policies.
Use of quad bikes is typically not covered.
Travel to the EU
There are no changes to the rules on travelling to the EU before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.
If you are travelling in the European Economic Area or Switzerland during this time, you can apply for and continue to use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), as you did before. The EHIC gives you the right to access emergency state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in those countries.
Remember that the EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property. It is not valid on cruises.
You should make sure your travel insurance covers your healthcare needs.
When taking out travel insurance you should also check:
the level of healthcare cover it includes
the travel disruption cover it includes
the terms and conditions
Contact your insurer if you have any questions about your travel cover.
Some policies will also include or offer the following cover for you to consider:
Provides cover if you accidentally cause an injury to someone or damage their property and they choose to sue you.
Personal accident cover – disability and death
Some travel insurance policies can cover a personal accident payment made for permanent disability or death.
Lost baggage on flights
Do not rely on compensation from an airline if it loses your luggage. By law, airlines only have to pay a specified minimum value per kilo of lost luggage. This is unlikely to cover the full value of your possessions.
Legal expenses cover
Legal expenses cover helps you to pursue compensation or damages following personal injury while you’re abroad – this is particularly relevant in countries without a legal aid system.
Under the terms of many insurance policies, you will need to cover a set amount of your costs yourself (an ‘excess’) before your insurer will pay towards your claim. You may be able to pay an extra premium to reduce or remove the excess when you take out your policy.
Read through your policy documents carefully before you travel to make sure you understand any applicable exclusions. Some common exclusions include:
Undeclared medical conditions or treatment
If you fall ill during your trip and have not declared a pre-existing medical condition to your insurer, even if seemingly unrelated, you may not be covered. Make sure you answer all questions about your medical history in full when you take out a policy, and tell your insurer about any changes in your health before you travel.
This may still apply if you’re receiving or waiting for medical tests or treatment for an undiagnosed condition or set of symptoms when you travel. Check your policy wording carefully and contact your insurer before you travel if you’re unsure.
Most travel insurance policies exclude cover for events that happen after excessive alcohol consumption or if you have taken recreational drugs or other substances.
Most policies offer only limited cover for terrorist acts. As a minimum, make sure your policy covers you for emergency medical expenses and repatriation in the event you are caught up in a terrorist attack.
Some travel insurers offer add-ons to their policies to provide additional cover in the event of a terrorist attack in your destination. This may include cover for cancellation if your destination is affected by a terrorist attack before your trip and you decide you no longer wish to travel.
Some policies may only offer limited cover for claims related to or caused by a natural disaster (such as an earthquake or tropical cyclone) or civil unrest.
You may also not be covered for some claims that arise from an incident (such as strikes or other industrial action) that was known publicly at the time you booked your trip and/or took out your travel insurance policy. Check your policy for full information.
Some insurance policies do not provide cover when airlines or suppliers go out of business. Take steps to protect yourself by choosing an ATOL protected holiday or a travel insurance policy that includes airline or supplier failure cover. See more information about ATOL below.
Travel insurance after starting travel or changing your plans
You should always arrange insurance before you begin your travel. If, after you begin travel, you find your insurance has expired or you have forgotten to buy insurance, you may be able to buy specialist insurance in this situation. This depends on your circumstances at the time, including whether you are already intending to make a claim. A waiting period may be applied to your policy which prevents you from making a claim immediately. See contacts for specialist insurance providers.
If you change your plans after taking out a travel insurance policy or when you are already abroad (for example, if you extend your stay or add an extra destination to your itinerary), check your insurance policy carefully to make sure you’re still fully covered. If you’re unsure, it’s best to contact your insurer for more information. If you don’t have definitive travel plans, an annual policy which covers all eventualities may be a safer option.
Insurance for temporary and permanent residents overseas
For temporary residents overseas, ‘long-stay’ travel insurance may be available to cover extended periods of continuous travel. You should carefully check the maximum duration allowed under any policy you consider buying to ensure that it meets your needs.
You should also make sure that the entire policy meets your needs, including specific activities and employment (paid or unpaid) that you may undertake during your stay. See contacts above for further advice and details of specialist providers.
Travel insurance is not intended for permanent residence overseas. If you’re living overseas permanently, or planning to move to a different country, you should consider your insurance needs carefully. Private medical insurance for UK expatriates is available. There may also be requirements under local law to have medical insurance.
You can also buy insurance from local providers overseas. In all cases you should check policies carefully, including consideration of whether medical cover can be transferred in the event that you re-locate to other countries in future. See contacts at the end of this guidance for further advice and details of specialist providers.
Details of how the FCO can provide support to British nationals when things go wrong abroad are outlined in the publication Support for British Nationals Abroad. Note that the FCO does not pay medical bills or fund medical repatriation to the UK.
Making a travel insurance claim
When you travel, make sure you take details of your insurance policy with you, including your policy number and the emergency assistance telephone number provided by your insurer. Give a copy of your policy details to the people you’re travelling with and friends or family back home, in case they need to contact your insurance company on your behalf in an emergency.
Medical emergencies and treatment
If you become ill or suffer an injury during your trip and need medical treatment, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible. Most major insurers have dedicated emergency assistance teams who can advise policyholders on the nearest suitable medical provider and start processing your claim.
Healthcare systems differ across the world, with both public and private hospitals available in many countries. Depending on the country you’re in, the treatment you need and the travel insurance cover you have, treatment in either a public or private facility may be more appropriate. Check your policy documents and contact your insurer if you need more information and advice. Information on healthcare is also available within the Health section of each FCO travel advice country page.
To ensure treatment is provided as quickly as possible, your insurer may expect you to pay costs for any minor treatments upfront (usually up to £500) and then submit a claim at a later date. Make sure you keep any receipts or relevant paperwork for your claim. If you’re unable to make these payments, contact your insurer for advice.
There have been isolated reports of some medical providers advising customers they must pay large medical bills upfront and/or refusing treatment until payment is made. If you are covered by valid travel insurance for the treatment you need, this should not normally be necessary. If you have any concerns, contact your insurer for further advice. If you need urgent consular assistance while abroad, contact the nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate.
If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance on your return home, make sure you keep receipts and any other paperwork that shows what happened and any costs incurred.
If you’ve been a victim of crime and want to make a claim on your travel insurance, you may need to report the crime to the police before you leave the country and provide a crime report as part of your claim. See guidance for victims of crime abroad.
Some forms of travel must, by law, include protection in case the business providing the travel becomes insolvent before you have completed it. The main areas are as follows.
UK travel businesses that are not licensed airlines or their agents must provide financial protection, either from ATOL (if the sale includes a flight) or by other means (if it does not). This also applies to non-European travel businesses selling in the UK.
European travel businesses that are not licensed airlines or their agents must provide financial protection according to the arrangements made in the country in which they are based.
Travel agents which are selling holidays as the agent of a travel business do not have to provide financial protection – the travel business’s protection arrangements will apply.
Licensed airlines do not have to provide financial protection for their sales of seats. If they sell a package they must provide financial protection.
Travel agents which are selling just airline seats as the agent of an airline do not have to provide financial protection.
Where there is no protection by law, you may want to consider whether you make sure you get protection yourself, by insurance or by paying by credit or debit card.
If you pay the airline directly by debit card, you may be able to claim a refund from the bank of what you paid. If you pay it by credit card, you may be able to claim a refund plus any consequential costs from the credit card provider. You should note that:
those protections may not apply if you paid an agent rather than the airline, or if you paid a non-UK company
there is no protection in respect of cash payments or direct bank transfers. Some other internet payment companies also provide their own financial protection schemes.
Financial protection for package holidays
You need to know that your package holiday is protected against the travel organiser’s insolvency. This includes protection for services not performed and prompt repatriation if the travel organiser goes bankrupt whilst you are on holiday.
If you have booked a package holiday from a UK established business or a business established outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), which is a combination of 2 or more travel services (such as flights and accommodation), you will be protected by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. The Regulations require businesses selling package holidays to have insolvency protection through the ATOL scheme for holidays including flights. For holidays that do not include flights, protection is provided through three options – Bonding or Insurance or Trust account.
If you bought your package holiday from a travel business established in an EEA country other than the UK, you protection will be provided under the arrangements made by that country.
You should make sure that you are provided with clear information, including on the level of insolvency protection, before you buy. Your package travel organiser will be able to provide that information to you.
The scheme protects you from losing money or being stranded abroad when an ATOL holder goes out of business.
The law says your holiday must be protected if it is a package holiday. ATOL protects most air package holidays sold by travel businesses that are based in the UK. ATOLs are only issued after a firm has met the CAA’s criteria. Licensed travel firms must also contribute £2.50 for each person booked on an ATOL protected holiday to a financial protection fund controlled by the Air Travel Trust (ATT). In the event of an ATOL travel firm’s failure, the CAA uses the fund to ensure people abroad are able to finish their holidays and fly home, while those unable to travel on future bookings are able to receive a refund.
How you can get ATOL protection
When you make a package holiday booking that includes a flight, make sure the travel firm has a licence. Firms have to display their ATOL number on websites and in brochures.
When you book, the ATOL holder or their agent must provide an ATOL Certificate confirming you are ATOL protected immediately when you pay any money (even a deposit). This should include the name of the licensed firm you’ve booked with, their ATOL number and details of what’s protected. Take these documents with you when you travel.
You will not be protected by ATOL if you:
are not buying a package holiday from an ATOL holder or its appointed travel agent
buy a Linked Travel Arrangement (LTA). This is where a business “facilitates” the sale of two or more travel services (e.g. a flight and hotel booking) but does so in a way that it is not classed as a package. If a travel business sells an LTA, it must inform you that this is the case and what protection you may have
buy your flight and accommodation separately from different suppliers, such as an airline and a hotel company
For questions or complaints about travel insurance, you should contact your insurance provider in the first instance. Check your policy documents or your insurer’s website for details on how to submit a question or complaint.
Transport for London Update, Delivered by – Vernon Everitt Managing Director, Customers, Communication & Technology
“Ahead of a further relaxation of Government restrictions, which will see more businesses and venues reopen on 4 July, we want to remind you about what to expect if you are travelling for the first time in a while.
We have put measures in place to enable safe journeys for everyone and your travel experiences may differ from before the pandemic.
Enhanced cleaning regime: We are using hospital-grade anti-viral cleaning products in all public areas across the network.
Key interchanges are being cleaned throughout the day and there is an enhanced regime across our entire fleet of Tubes, trains, trams and buses to ensure surfaces, such as poles, handles and doors that are regularly touched, are clean.
The police and TfL’s enforcement officers are deployed across the network to encourage compliance and if necessary they will refuse entry, ask people to leave, issue fines or prosecute. Thank you to the overwhelming majority who are complying with this requirement.
You should continue to work from home if you can. Also if you can, please try walking or cycling part of your journeys or getting off a stop or two early to help make space for those who have no alternative way to travel.
Decontamination and Infection Prevention Section – 2nd July 2020
Hand Hygiene for All calls on all of society to achieve universal hand hygiene. It proposes a framework for coordination and collaboration among global and regional partners to support country-led efforts and investments and calls for countries to lay out comprehensive roadmaps to ensure hand hygiene is a mainstay beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus (Covid-19): An Update on the Law as Scotland Moves Through Phases
Guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19), including business, health, education and housing.
Staying Alert and Safe (Social Distancing) After 4 July
Everyone’s actions have helped to reduce the transmission of coronavirus in our communities. Fatalities and infection rates continue to fall.
The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that continues to protect our communities and our NHS. The most important thing we can continue to do is to stay alert, control the virus, and, in doing so, save lives.
This guidance explains the measures that will help you to stay alert and stay as safe as possible as we continue to respond to the challenges of coronavirus. It applies from 4 July – until then, the existing restrictions will remain in place. This guidance covers England only. People in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.
On 19 June, the UK CMOs changed the COVID-19 alert level from level four to level three following a recommendation by the Joint Biosecurity Centre. This means that the virus is considered to be in general circulation but transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially. As a result, the UK Government has decided to continue to ease restrictions in a manner that is safe, cautious and consistent with our plan.
As of 4 July, this will mean:
you can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household – you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case – even inside someone’s home – that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers
when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in the bubble, but you should not change who you have formed a support bubble with
additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open – but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open
you can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (where you need to keep social distancing)
it will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law and unless all members of the group are exclusively from two households. Police will have the power to break up groups larger than 30, apart from these exceptions
Moving forward, from 4 July, people will be trusted to continue acting responsibly by following this and related guidance, subject to an upper legal limit on gatherings (as described above). The overwhelming majority of the British public have complied with the regulations, and the wider guidance on how to keep themselves and their friends and family as safe as possible. Taking this into account, we trust people to continue acting responsibly, and to follow the guidance on what they should and should not do.
These changes will reopen much of society and the economy, but it is essential that everyone in the country goes about their lives in a manner which reduces the risk of transmission, whether they are at work, leisure, or using public services. When you leave your home, you should follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home. You should continue to avoid close contact and remain socially distant from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble – even inside other people’s homes.
You should wash your hands regularly. This will help to protect you and anyone you come into contact with and is critical to keeping everyone safe.
You can find answers to the most frequently asked questions about what you should and should not do during the coronavirus outbreak on our FAQs page.
1. Protecting different groups of people
This guidance is for the general public who are fit and well. There is separate, specific guidance on isolation for households with a possible coronavirus infection.
Some people, including those aged 70 and over, those with certain underlying conditions and pregnant women, are clinically vulnerable, meaning they may be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. As we continue to ease restrictions, this group should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household. Never visit a clinically vulnerable person if you think you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild. Never visit a clinically vulnerable person if you have been advised to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have been in contact with a case. More detail is set out in section 7 of this guidance, below.
2. Meeting family and friends
We know that it has been difficult for people to be cut off from their family and friends in recent months. That is why we have enabled people to see them more as we start to open up more of society and the economy. Guidance on how to see your friends and family safely can be found here.
To avoid risks of transmission and stay as safe as possible, you should always maintain social distancing with people you do not live with – indoors and outdoors. You should only have close social contact with others if you are in a support bubble with them. You should:
only gather indoors with members of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
only gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households or in larger groups if everyone is from up to two households only
only gather in slightly larger groups of up to 30 for major life events, such as weddings
only gather in groups of more than 30 for specific set of circumstances that will be set out in law
only visit businesses and venues in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) or with a group of six people from different households if outdoors
not interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending these places with even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
try to limit the number of people you see, especially over short periods of time, to keep you and them safe, and save lives – the more people you have interactions with, the more chances we give the virus to spread
not hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing when gathering in the group sizes advised
only stay overnight away from your home in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household)
when asked, provide your contact details to a business so that you can be contacted as needed by the NHS Test and Trace programme
If you or someone in your household or support bubble are showing coronavirus symptoms, everyone in your household or support bubble should stay home. If you or a member of your support bubble is contacted as part of the test and trace programme, the individual contacted should stay at home. If the individual becomes symptomatic, everyone in the support bubble should then isolate.
By following this guidance, you are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community.
The government is committed to doing everything possible to allow all children to go back to school safely, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents. The government’s plan is for all students to return to school in September and we will publish further guidance for education settings on this.
Primary schools should now be open for Reception, Year 1, and Year 6 pupils and if schools have capacity they can welcome more children back, in group sizes of no more than 15, before the summer holidays. Schools and colleges should provide some face-to-face support for Year 10 and Year 12 pupils. Early years (aged 0-5) childcare should also be open to children. You can find out more about the government’s approach to education and how schools are preparing.
As of 4 July, many of the businesses and venues that were previously required to stay closed to the public will be able to reopen. All businesses and venues should follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.
For the time being, certain businesses and venues will still be required by law to stay closed to the public. From 4 July, these closed businesses and venues will include:
bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks
indoor play areas including soft-play
nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons
massage, tattoo and piercing parlours
indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
swimming pools and water parks
exhibition or conference centres – where they are to be used for exhibitions or conferences
Other businesses will be able to open and their employees should travel to work, where they cannot work from home.
If you can, you should avoid using public transport, and aim to walk, cycle, or drive instead. It is not possible to social distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can definitely occur in this context. So avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or, your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing. If you need to use public transport to complete your journey you should follow the guidelines in place, and must wear a face covering.
You should plan ahead to ensure that, where you are visiting places like National Parks, beaches or other visitor attractions, you have checked that they are open and appropriately prepared for visitors. It is important to avoid large crowds where it may not be possible to socially distance.
When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where their intended activities there would be prohibited by legislation passed by the relevant devolved administration.
6. Going to work
With the exception of the organisations listed in this guidance on closing businesses and venues, the government has not required any other businesses to close to the public – it is important for business to carry on.
People who can work from home should continue to do so. Employers should decide, in consultation with their employees, whether it is viable for them to continue working from home. Where it is decided that workers should come into their place of work then this will need to be reflected in the risk assessment and actions taken to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance.
All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Workplaces should be set up to meet the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines before operating. These will keep you as safe as possible, while allowing as many people as possible to resume their livelihoods. In particular, workplaces should ensure employees can socially distance from each other, or have implemented robust mitigation measures where distancing is not possible, and wash their hands regularly. Businesses should maintain 2m distancing wherever possible.
At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household (or support bubble), shows coronavirus symptoms. You should not go into work if you are showing symptoms, or if you or any of your household (or support bubble) are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.
If you have any of the following health conditions, you may be clinically vulnerable, meaning you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. Although you can meet people outdoors and, from 4 July, indoors, you should be especially careful and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene.
Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:
aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
chronic kidney disease
chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions – and who have been advised to ‘shield’. We are relaxing advice to those shielding in two stages – as long as the incidence rate in the community remains low:
From 6 July:
those shielding can spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people (including those outside of their household). Extra care should be taken to minimise contact with others by maintaining social distancing. This can be in a public outdoor space, or in a private garden or uncovered yard or terrace
those shielding no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of their household
those who are shielding will be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household, as long as one of the households in the bubble is a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18). All those in a support bubble can spend time together inside each others’ homes, including overnight, without needing to maintain social distancing. This follows the same rules on support bubbles that apply to the wider population now
From 1 August advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people will move in line with advice to those who are clinically vulnerable. In practice, this means staying at home as much as possible, and if people do go out, taking particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household (unless you are in a support bubble) and robustly practising good, frequent hand washing.
The relaxation of the shielding guidance will mean people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be advised they can go to work or to the shops, as long as they are able to maintain social distancing as much as possible and their workplace is COVID-19 Secure.
Support for those shielding will continue to the end of July so that people can plan for these changes.
8. Communicating with the public
The government will continue to keep the public informed of the impacts of coronavirus on the UK, and the law and guidance that is in place to protect the public.
The measures set out will be kept under constant review and we will seek to open additional businesses once we can be assured these will be able to meet COVID-19 Secure guidelines. If people begin to act recklessly, which could impact on the transmission of coronavirus in our communities, further restrictions will have to be implemented again.
Pelican Healthcare Hits Manufacturing High Despite Covid-19
Pelican Healthcare Ltd, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of disposable stoma products in the UK and Ireland healthcare markets, has achieved record levels of manufacturing during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite having to recruit and train half its production workforce due to the virus.
For the first two weeks of the pandemic, approximately 50 per cent of its manufacturing workforce needed to self-isolate, decreasing to 33% after this period, necessitating a strong recruitment drive that saw 22 temporary staff appointed in just two weeks. These recruits will remain in place until Welsh Government advice on vulnerable adults changes. The additional shortfall in production capacity has been supported by Pelican’s core staff working an additional 600 hours per month. This has ensured record levels of manufacturing, an increase of approximately 35%, and supply of products to customers has remained constant.
In addition, Pelican Healthcare’s Customer Services team has ensured trade orders are fulfilled so that the network of Dispensing Appliance Contractors (DACs) and pharmacies around the UK have adequate stock.
Part of the Eakin Group, Pelican Healthcare offers a wide range of innovative ostomy and continence products, including pouches, skin care products, support garments and other lines. Through its sister company, Respond Healthcare, it provides prescription dispensing, home delivery and support services to the stoma and continence care community throughout the UK.
The Covid-19 pandemic meant Pelican had to quickly reorganise its staff and introduce new ways of working within its manufacturing centre, which has included an even more stringent cleansing regime, the introduction of new protective equipment and guarding measures for staff, as well as social distancing.
Commenting on the measures taken and success that has been achieved over the last three months, Dr Paul Eakin, UK CEO said: “I am delighted with how we were able to respond to the very serious situation the world finds itself in and continue to meet the vital needs of our customers across the UK.
“The products we manufacture and deliver are absolutely crucial to people’s lives, without which they simply wouldn’t be able to function. Customers have told us for example, they would be in ‘big trouble without us keeping supplies arriving regularly’. This meant that our response to Covid-19 was absolutely critical and having delays to our manufacturing operation and supply network was simply not an option.
“I am extremely proud of all the staff who have gone above and beyond during this pandemic, working extra-long shifts, whilst working in new ways and learning new skills. They have simply been outstanding and I can’t speak highly enough of them.”
Pelican and Respond Healthcare have also launched the #BeTheChange campaign to further help its customers go about their daily lives within Wales.
The campaign aims to educate the public and garner greater understanding of the needs of people living with hidden illnesses such as a stoma.
Working with its customers the campaign is pushing for changes in society including:
new signage on accessible toilets, highlighting that not all chronic illnesses and health issues can be seen
for Local Authorities across Wales to adjust waste collections in recognition of the issues people living with a stoma face
Manufacturing disposable products for stoma care and feminine healthcare has been our speciality since the company was formed in 1994.
In 2007, Pelican Healthcare was bought by T G Eakin Limited, a world-renowned producer of specialist medical adhesives and wound care products. We are now part of the Eakin Group of companies and our stoma care products are available under the Eakin brand in an increasing number of international locations.
More recently, we have transformed our spacious premises in Cardiff into a state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution centre. We also share a joint Research and Development facility based in Northern Ireland with our parent company, T G Eakin Ltd. Our purpose is to bring innovative, quality products to market for the benefit of our customers.
Our products cover a wide range of innovative ostomy and continence products, including pouches, skin care, support and other lines.
Head office – Pelican Healthcare, Greypoint, Llanishen, Cardiff CF14 5WF
Department Name: EPD – PPE Team Bulletin No: STSU1 – 2020 Issue Date: June 2020 Target Audience: All industry Key Issues: Quality of KN95 face masks and lack of compliance with European standards
A substantial number of face masks, claiming to be of KN95 standards, provide an inadequate level of protection and are likely to be poor quality products accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork. These face masks may also be known as filtering facepiece respirators.
KN95 is a performance rating under the Chinese standard GB2626:2006, the requirements of which are broadly the same as the European standard BSEN149:2001+A1:2009 for FFP2 facemasks. However, there is no independent certification or assurance of their quality and products manufactured to KN95 rating are declared as compliant by the manufacturer.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) cannot be sold or supplied as PPE unless it is CE marked. The only exception is for PPE that is organised by the UK Government for use by NHS or other healthcare workers where assessments have been undertaken by HSE as the Market Surveillance Authority.
KN95 must not be used as PPE at work as their effectiveness cannot be assured.
Masks that are not CE marked and cannot be shown to be compliant must be removed from supply immediately. If these masks have not been through the necessary safety assessments, their effectiveness in controlling risks to health cannot be assured for anyone buying or using them. They are unlikely to provide the protection expected or required.
If any are CE marked, suppliers must be able to demonstrate how they know the documentation and CE marking is genuine, supported by Notified Body documentation showing compliance with the essential health and safety requirements as required by the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (EU) 2016/425.
Relevant legal documents
Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (EU) 2016/425
Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018
Check the latest travel information and find out how Transport for London are responding to coronavirus.
Moboa Launch New Cabins for Infection Prevention
BHTA member, Moboa, have introduced three new cabins that offer body and hand disinfection, temperature measurement and face recognition.
When the person enters the cabin, there is the mist which is sprayed which works on the entire surface of the person – it’s hypoallergenic, does not irritate the face and does not damage to clothes. The mist is a natural biocide that occurs in the human immune system, so it is entirely harmless. The fluid used in the cabins is entirely natural and has the necessary certificates confirming the high efficiency to eliminate bacteria, fungi and viruses. One disinfection process takes 5-15 seconds.
Their cabins can increase the safety of patients, staff and the public, at the same time, and aims to reduce the spread of viruses. The cabin and the disinfection fluids have all the necessary EU certificates.
Face Coverings to Become Mandatory on Public Transport
From 15 June, face coverings will be required while using public transport in England.
government asks transport operators in England to make wearing face coverings a requirement of using public transport from 15 June to coincide with the next stage of carefully easing restrictions
bus, coach, train, tram, ferry and aircraft passengers must wear a face covering on their journey to help reduce the risk of transmission when social distancing is not always possible – with government also working with operators to ensure staff are provided with face coverings where appropriate
guidance remains to work from home if you can and avoid public transport where possible
The government will work with operators to make it mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings when using public transport in England, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today (4 June 2020).
Wherever possible people should continue to avoid public transport and walk, cycle or drive, but for some people this may not be an option. Transport usage has been slowly increasing, including on the tube which has seen around a 20% rise this week compared to last week.
When necessary to use public transport people may be more likely to be in enclosed spaces for longer periods of time where we know there is a greater risk of the spread of the virus and social distancing is likely to be difficult to follow consistently. This differs from enclosed spaces like shops, for example, where people can more easily go outside if social distancing is not possible and where shop owners can place limits on the number of customers allowed inside at any one time. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has set out that using face coverings in this setting can provide some small additional protection to fellow passengers and can help people to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus if they are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
The changes will be made under legislation such as the National Rail Conditions of Travel and Public Service Vehicle Regulations for buses. While the government expects the vast majority of people to comply with the changes, operators will be able to refuse travel or issue penalty fines for those who fail to wear a face covering, in a similar way to the rules on having a ticket for travel. British Transport Police will also support the implementation of these changes.
Social distancing and hand washing remain by far the most important disease prevention measures but it is also vital all passengers travelling on buses, coaches, trains, trams, ferries and aircraft should wear a face covering and the government will also work with operators to ensure staff are provided with, and wear face coverings, where appropriate for their role.
People should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting their face covering on and after taking it off and it is important that people don’t touch their face covering when wearing it, where possible, to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
People should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. But, as restrictions are carefully eased when it is safe to do so, it’s likely that we will see more people needing to use public transport.
So, while respecting social distancing and maintaining good hand hygiene remain the most important steps we can all take to stay safe, wearing a face covering can play a role in helping us to protect each other.
This is about the small changes we can take to help control the virus, which is why I urge everyone using transport to wear a face covering, to help keep us all safer.
Face coverings are not the same as face masks. It is important that people do not use medical grade PPE masks to ensure these remain available for frontline staff. Last month, the government set out advice for people on how to make their own face coverings easily at home, using scarves or other textile items. These face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.
Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said:
Wearing face coverings on trains will help to ensure that those who need to travel by rail can do so with confidence. Greater use of face coverings will boost the other measures we are putting in place to keep people safe, like more thorough cleaning, improved information on potential crowding and one-way systems at busier stations.
To ease pressure on public transport, the government has announced measures to encourage people to choose other forms of transport, including £2 billion for cycling, and the acceleration of e-scooter trials across the country. To capitalise on the increase in cycling uptake in recent months, the government is also working hard on measures to get more people commuting by bike with initiatives such as the Cycle to Work scheme to help with the cost of bikes, including e-bikes.
This document describes the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and sets out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus.
The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap to easing existing measures in a safe and measured way, subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread. The roadmap will be kept constantly under review as the epidemic, and the world’s understanding of it, develops.
Working Safely During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
HSE have produced guidance to help you work safely (be COVID-secure) and manage the risk associated with running your business at this time.
It includes practical measures you can take, for example putting in place social distancing measures, staggering shifts, providing additional handwashing facilities and how to talk with workers to help them stay safe.
A guide on how to protect people from coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace. You should do a risk assessment and manage the risk of coronavirus in your business. This includes taking measures to work at home where possible, maintaining social distancing, cleaning and hygiene.
By consulting and involving people in the steps you are taking to manage the risk of coronavirus in your workplace you can:
explain the changes you are planning to work safely
make sure changes will work and hear their ideas
continue to operate your business safely during the outbreak
Find out more
Find out more about how to do a risk assessment and manage risk so you can protect your workers and others from coronavirus.
Further detailed guidance is available on GOV.UK for the following specific work settings:
Larger Businesses to Benefit from Loans of up to £200 Million
Government extends maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million.
loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to large businesses affected by coronavirus from next week
changes also mean companies receiving help through CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Fund will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay
Businesses will be able to benefit from larger loans under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), the government announced today.
The maximum loan size available under the scheme will be increased from £50 million to £200 million to help ensure those large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak.
The expanded loans, which have been introduced following discussions with lenders and business groups, will be available from 26 May.
John Glen, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said:
We’re determined to support businesses of all sizes throughout this crisis and our loans and guarantees have already provided over £32 billion to thousands of firms.
Today we’re increasing the maximum loan to £200 million to make sure companies get the help they need.
Businesses have benefitted from over £32 billion in loans and guarantees to support their cashflow during the crisis. This includes 268,000 Bounce Back Loans worth £8.3 billion, 36,000 loans worth over £6 billion through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and £359 million through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, alongside £18.7 billion through the CCFF.
Companies borrowing more than £50 million through CLBILS will be subject to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan, including a ban on dividend payments and cash bonuses, except where they were previously agreed.
These restrictions will also apply to CCFF participants that wish to borrow money beyond 12 months from today. This will ensure that the money is used to keep the company going through the crisis. The Bank will also publish a list of companies who are benefitting under CCFF on 4 June.
borrowers under CLBILS will be able to borrow up to 25% of turnover, up to a maximum of £200 million
lenders who wish to offer larger loans will need to undergo further accreditation checks
The restrictions in place will include:
Dividends: Borrowers cannot make any dividend payments other than those that have already been declared
Share buyback: Borrowers agree not to make any share buybacks
Executive pay: Borrowers cannot pay any cash bonuses, or award any pay rises to senior management (including the board) except where they were a) declared before the CLBILS loan was taken out, b) is in keeping with similar payments made in the preceding 12 months, and c) does not have a material negative impact on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.
As businesses start to consider bringing staff back into work premises, a number of issues need to be considered for the safety of everyone entering the building. Government guidelines should be followed.
Recommissioning of Lifts and Escalators Post Lockdown
Many lifts and escalators will have been switched off for lockdown. Whilst most will go back into service without any glitches there are some precautionary steps that should be taken before returning them to regular service.
Government to Support Businesses through Trade Credit Insurance Guarantee
Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen has announced.
Trade Credit Insurance provides cover to hundreds of thousands of business to business transactions, particularly in non-service sectors, such as manufacturing and construction. It insures suppliers selling goods against the company they are selling to defaulting on payment, giving businesses the confidence to trade with one another. But due to Coronavirus and businesses struggling to pay bills, they risk having credit insurance withdrawn, or premiums increasing to unaffordable levels.
To prevent this from happening, the government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. This will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence as they can trust that they will be protected if a customer defaults on payment.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen said:
This country’s businesses are crucial in helping us to kick start the economy as we get back to work, and I will do everything I can to help support them through this difficult time. By guaranteeing business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, we will help to maintain a vital cog in our economy.
This is on top of an unprecedented package of support we have put in place to help protect individuals, businesses and the economy.
Business Minister, Paul Scully, said:
Giving businesses the confidence to continue trading is vital to seeing us through this crisis. This guarantee will be essential as we seek to reopen new sectors of the economy and get the UK back to work in a way that is safe for everyone.
The guarantee will be delivered through a temporary reinsurance agreement with insurers currently operating in the market.
The government will work with businesses and the industry on the full details of the scheme to ensure firms are supported and risk is appropriately shared between the government and insurers.
The guarantees will cover trading by domestic firms and exporting firms and the intent is for agreements to be in place with insurers by end of this month.
The guarantee will be temporary and targeted to cover CV-19 economic challenges, and will provisionally last until the end of the year. It will be followed by a review of the TCI market to ensure it can continue to support businesses in future. Further details will be announced in due course.
BCC Director General Adam Marshall said:
The government has demonstrated once again that it is listening to the concerns of our business communities.
The launch of a government-backed guarantee to support the provision of trade credit insurance will help ensure that this vital lifeline remains available to businesses during and after this crisis, helping to maintain supply chains and trade.
CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith, said:
The government’s decision to backstop trade credit insurance will protect thousands of jobs and allow many businesses across the UK to restart operations.
This intervention will keep cash flowing within critical supply chains and more importantly, it will help lower risk for our exporters and ensure that UK firms can continue to trade with other countries.
Getting this scheme up and running is crucial as the UK economy gradually restarts, while keeping public health as the first priority.
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry, said:
As the pandemic continues to bite, small firms need all the help they can get to continue to trade domestically and internationally. This temporary reinsurance scheme should mean that small businesses don’t have their trade credit insurance withdrawn and should be able to continue to access affordable insurance to support trading with other businesses.
The intervention provides much needed confidence for small businesses to get back on their feet and start trading again as we enter recovery. This protection will be particularly helpful for small businesses operating in the supply chains of sectors like construction and manufacturing. We look forward to working with the government and insurance industry to get this scheme live as quickly as possible and to ensure that it helps small businesses to trade with confidence.
in whole of 2018 £450 million was paid in TCI premiums to cover over £350 billion in business activity
as of April 2020 there was over £171 billion business activity insured, covering transactions between around 13000 suppliers and 650,000 buyers
The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October, the Chancellor announced today (Tuesday 12 May 2020).
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until end of October
furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500
new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy
In a boost to millions of jobs and businesses, Rishi Sunak said the furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary.
As we reopen the economy, we need to support people to get back to work. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:
Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected millions of jobs and businesses across the UK during the outbreak – and I’ve been clear that I want to avoid a cliff edge and get people back to work in a measured way.
This extension and the changes we are making to the scheme will give flexibility to businesses while protecting the livelihoods of the British people and our future economic prospects.
New statistics published today revealed the job retention scheme has protected 7.5 million workers and almost 1 million businesses.
The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July and the changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August. More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of this month.
The government will explore ways through which furloughed workers who wish to do additional training or learn new skills are supported during this period. It will also continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure the scheme supports people across the Union.
The Chancellor’s decision to extend the scheme, which will continue to apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy, comes after the government outlined its plan for the next phase of its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The scheme is just one part of the government’s world-leading economic response to coronavirus, including an unprecedented package for the self-employed, loans and guarantees that have so far provided billions of pounds in support, tax deferrals and grants for small businesses.
Today the government is also publishing new statistics that show businesses have benefitted from over £14 billion in loans and guarantees to support their cashflow during the crisis. This includes 268,000 Bounce Back Loans worth £8.3 billion, 36,000 loans worth over £6 billion through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and £359 million through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
The Job Retention Scheme is a lifeline which has been hugely beneficial in helping small employers keep their staff in work, and it’s extension is welcome. Small employers have told us that part-time furloughing will help them recover from this crisis and it is welcome that new flexibility is announced today.
BCC Director General Adam Marshall said:
The extension of the Job Retention Scheme will come as a huge help and a huge relief for businesses across the UK.
The Chancellor is once again listening to what we’ve been saying, and the changes planned will help businesses bring their people back to work through the introduction of a part-time furlough scheme. We will engage with the Treasury and HMRC on the detail to ensure that this gives companies the flexibility they need to reopen safely.
Over the coming months, the government should continue to listen to business and evolve the scheme in line with what’s happening on the ground. Further support may yet be needed for companies who are unable to operate for an extended period, or those who face reduced capacity or demand due to ongoing restrictions.
The Chancellor is confronting a challenging balancing act deftly. As economic activity slowly speeds up, it’s essential that support schemes adapt in parallel.
Extending the furlough to avoid a June cliff-edge continues the significant efforts made already and will protect millions of jobs.
Introducing much needed flexibility is extremely welcome. It will prepare the ground for firms that are reawakening, while helping those who remain in hibernation. That’s essential as the UK economy revives step-by-step, while supporting livelihoods.
Firms will, of course, want more detail on how they will contribute to the scheme in the future and will work with government to get this right.
Above all, the path of the virus is unpredictable, and much change still lies ahead. The government must continue to keep a watchful eye on those industries and employees that remain at risk. All schemes will need to be kept under review to help minimise impacts on people’s livelihoods and keep businesses thriving.
The greater the number of good businesses saved now, the easier it will be for the economy to recover.
Cumulative number of approved facilities
Cumulative value of approved facilities
Cumulative number of applications
Bounce Back Loan Scheme
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans Scheme
the applications figure includes approved applications, those applications that are still to be processed, applications that have been declined and those applications that may turn out not to be eligible or cases where customers will decide not to proceed
figures show cumulative applications and approvals up to close of business on 10 May 2020
these figures include data from BBB accredited lenders shared directly with HMT by close of business on 11 May 2020
These 8 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen.
A number of rating measures have been introduced to help businesses, including a rates holiday for businesses and the continuation of the Small Businesses Rate Relief scheme. For more information, see:
There are also a number of UK wide government schemes that businesses in Northern Ireland can access. To see what support is available for you and your business a coronavirus business support finder tool is available at:
Coronavirus funds, latest updates and your most answered questions.
Fit Testing Face Masks to Avoid Transmission During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Respiratory protective equipment
Tight-fitting respirators (such as disposable FFP3 masks and reusable half masks) rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face. A face fit test should be carried out to ensure the respiratory protective equipment (RPE) can protect the wearer.
To ensure you put on tight-fitting RPE correctly, use a mirror or ask a colleague. Fit-testers should follow government advice on social distancing, as they can make observations from this distance and deliver any instructions verbally.
The user should then carry out a pre-use seal check or fit check. The following poster and video give guidance on how to put on disposable respirators and how to do a pre-use seal check or fit check.
those being fitted should keep their respirators on if closer observation is required to minimise risk to testers
both the fit tester and those being fit tested should wash their hands before and after the test in accordance with NHS guidelines
those being fit tested with non-disposable masks should clean the mask themselves before and immediately after the test using a suitable disinfectant cleaning wipe (check with manufacturer to avoid damaging the mask)
test facepieces that cannot be adequately disinfected (e.g. disposable half masks) should not be used by more than one individual.
fit testers should wear disposable gloves when undertaking cleaning of the tubes, hoods etc and ensure they remove gloves
immediately dispose of used gloves, disposable masks, cleaning wipes etc in a waste bin
Fit testers should familiarise themselves with the following potential contact points and actions to minimise transmission:
Action to minimise transmission
Inside and outside of respirator (mask)
The wearer should clean the inside and outside of the mask using a suitable disinfectant cleaning wipe under the fit tester’s instruction and supervision.
Inside and outside (where held) of hood used for qualitative fit tests
The fit tester should clean the inside and outside (where held) of the hood between each test using a suitable disinfectant wipe that won’t damage the visor and wearing disposable gloves.
Moisture from the wearer’s breath collected inside the ambient particle counting device tubing (i.e. for quantitative testing)
Only touch used tubing when wearing gloves. Clean the mask end of the tube with a suitable disinfectant wipe after use.Have a stock of spare tubes (to allow used tubes to dry); or ensure the end of used tubing is placed in a wad of tissue if removing the condensate between tests by blowing out with compressed/canned air.
Fit testing adaptors and sampling probe
Clean at the same time as cleaning the mask following the fit test using a suitable disinfectant cleaning wipe, under the instruction and supervision of the fit tester.
Specific inner mask supplied by fit tester when fit testing powered RPE and the existing inner mask is replaced
This should be cleaned by the wearer at the same time as they clean the inside of the mask using a suitable disinfectant cleaning wipe following their fit test, under the instruction and supervision of the fit tester.
Although, the wearers exhaled air does not pass through the filters used when testing half and full facemasks, they may be re-used and handled between tests and so should be wiped using a suitable disinfectant cleaning wipe.
Further advice on fit testing
A fit test should be carried out before people wear RPE for the first time. Inadequate fit can reduce the protection provided and lead to immediate or long-term ill-health or can even put the RPE wearer’s life in danger. A fit test should be repeated whenever there is a change to the RPE type, size, model or material or whenever there is a change to the circumstances of the wearer that could alter the fit of the RPE; for example:
weight loss or gain
substantial dental work
any facial changes (scars, moles, effects of ageing etc) around the face seal area
introduction or change in other head-worn personal protective equipment (PPE)
There is no stipulated frequency for re-testing, and you don’t need one if there are no changes in these circumstances.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Latest Information and Advice from HSE
Housing LIN Coronavirus Info Hub
With the escalating incidence of coronavirus in the UK, it is essential that those working in our sector are fully aware of the seriousness of COVID-19 and the risk to both our own lives and the public at large.
COVID-19 Guidance: Information for NI Businesses & Employers
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland.
To help businesses and employers understand what the measures announced by the Chancellor mean for you, please use this page to navigate the latest guidance for people in Northern Ireland.
The UK Government has launched a Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Details on how to apply can be found here.
The UK Government has published extensive guidance for employers, including details on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and what to do if someone is suspected or confirmed to have the virus.
UK Government support for businesses
The UK Government has set out a package of measures to protect public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Businesses in Northern Ireland can access the following schemes and announcements:
Businesses will receive government grants worth up to 80% of wages to keep workers in jobs. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will pay up to £2,500 per worker each month, helping those who are self-isolating or caring for loved ones.
For innovative companies facing financing difficulties due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The Future Fund will launch in May 2020.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to employers and the self-employed. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants. Use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.
Northern Ireland Executive support for businesses
As some aspects of business support are devolved in Northern Ireland, Invest NI has provided practical advice for business online here.
Businesses in Northern Ireland can access the following schemes:
COVID Small Business Grant – A small business grant of £10,000 for all businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000. This will be automatically paid into the accounts of eligible direct debit ratepayers. Registration is now open for other eligible businesses to apply.
Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Sectors Grant Scheme – A grant of £25,000 will be provided to companies in these sectors with a rateable value from £15,001 up to £51,000. This scheme went live on 20 April.
In his Budget Statement of 31 March, the Finance Minister confirmed a £100m package allocated to providing a three months rates holiday to all businesses in Northern Ireland. No application is required to avail of this. It will be shown as a 25% discount on the annual rate bill for business ratepayers.
The Budget Statement also provided for:
an effective 18% reduction in the Stormont determined portion of business rates (i.e. the non-domestic regional rate) compared to the 2019-20 figure;
an extension of the existing Small Business Rate Relief scheme for one year;
a deferral in the issuing of rates bills until June.
You should work from home unless it is impossible for you to do so.
Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if you operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
If you are staying at home because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.
We are legislating for SSP to be paid from day 1, rather than day 4, of your absence from work if you are absent from work due to sickness or need to stay at home due to COVID-19. Once the legislation has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March. You should talk to your employer if you are eligible for SSP and need to claim.
Proof of sickness
If you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.
If you’re self-employed or not eligible for SSP
If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance.
If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.
If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.
You could get paid 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.
Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit.
From 6 April we are increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for 1 year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.
If you have COVID-19 or are staying at home
You are now able to claim Universal Credit, and if required can access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a jobcentre.
To support you with the economic impact of the outbreak, and allow you to follow government guidance on self-isolation and social distancing, from 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak.
New claimants will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.
From April, we are increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.
Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least 3 months starting from 1 March 2020. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Employers can claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.
The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.
If you’re in temporary financial distress because of COVID-19 more help is available from HMRC’s Time to Pay scheme.
Support for businesses through deferring Self-Assessment payments on account
If you’re due to pay a self-assessment payment on account by 31 July 2020 but the impact of the coronavirus causes you difficulty in making payment by that date, then you may defer payment until January 2021.
You are eligible if you are due to pay your second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment.
The deferment is optional. If you are still able to pay your second payment on account on 31 July you should do so.
How to access the scheme
This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment until 31 January 2021.
During the deferral period you can set up a budget payment plan to help you pay the deferred payment on account when it comes due.
If you’re in temporary financial distress because of COVID-19 more help is available from HMRC’s Time to Pay scheme.
Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
We will bring forward legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
You are eligible for the scheme if:
your business is UK based
your business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020
How to access the scheme
A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legalisation has passed.
Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates
Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
We will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:
your business is based in England
your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties that are wholly or mainly being used:
as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
for assembly and leisure
for hospitality, as hotels, guest & boarding premises or self-catering accommodation
Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.
You are eligible if:
your business is based in England
you are a business that occupies property
you are receiving small business rate relief or rural rate relief as of 11 March
How to access the scheme
Eligible businesses will be contacted by their local authority, though some local authorities have decided to operate an applications process.
Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.
Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.
The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.
Support for large businesses through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The 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.
This will give banks the confidence to lend to many more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus. Facilities backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest.
We expect the scheme to be delivered through commercial lenders. The government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans for businesses that would be otherwise unable to access the finance they need.
Lenders will still be expected to conduct their usual credit risk checks. This scheme allows lenders to specifically support businesses that were viable before the COVID-19 outbreak but now face significant cash flow difficulties that would otherwise make their business unviable in the short term.
The new scheme will launch later this month and will support a wide range of businesses to access finance products including short term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance.
Businesses would remain responsible for repaying any facility they may takeout.
To be eligible, your business must:
be UK-based in its business activity
have an annual turnover between £45 million and £500 million
be unable to secure regular commercial financing
have a borrowing proposal which the lender:
would consider viable, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic
believes will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty
Businesses from any sector can apply, except for the following:
banks and building societies
insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
public-sector organisations, including state-funded primary and secondary schools
Further detail on eligibility will be confirmed later this month.
How to access the scheme
The new scheme will launch later this month. We anticipate it will be available through a range of accredited lenders.
Once the scheme has launched, there is likely to be a big demand for facilities – businesses should consider applying via the lender’s website in the first instance. Telephone lines are likely to be busy and branches may have limited capacity to handle enquiries due to social distancing.
Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.
This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.
It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.
Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
You are eligible if your business:
pays tax to the UK government
has outstanding tax liabilities
How to access the scheme
If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 024 1222.
If you’re worried about a future payment, please call us nearer the time.
Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19.
However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy).
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.
Notifiable diseases are certain infectious diseases that registered medical practitioners have a statutory duty to notify the ‘proper officer’ at their local council or local health protection team about when they come across a suspected case.
The government keeps an updated list of notifable diseases. On 5 March 2020, the government added COVID-19 to its list of notifiable diseases.
Many insurers use diseases on this list as triggers for the activation or exclusion of insurance cover. For example, insurers’ policies that cover notifiable diseases will typically only cover a specific subset of notifiable diseases (such as Cholera or Anthrax) that the insurer will reference in the policy documentation. These policies will exclude any notifiable disease not on the insurers list, as well as future/unknown diseases (such as COVID-19). The price that the insurer charges for the policy is modelled against the risk posed by this set list of diseases.
Unspecified notifiable diseases
Some businesses will have purchased add-ons for their insurance that cover for ‘unspecified notifiable diseases’. These policies effectively cover any disease listed as a notifiable disease, enabling the business to claim for losses for all notifiable diseases as well as from diseases that are unknown at the point the policy is written.
The effect of the government adding COVID-19 to its list of notifiable diseases is to ensure that businesses with unspecified notifiable disease cover are able to make a claim – subject to the terms and conditions in their policy. For example, someone infected with COVID-19 may need to have been on the premises.
Insurers have agreed that this advice is sufficient for businesses covered for COVID-19 losses to make a claim (if the only barrier to them making a claim was a lack of clarity on whether the government had ordered businesses to close). As such, intervention by the police or any other statutory body is no longer required to trigger cover in the current circumstances.
However, most businesses’ commercial insurance policies (including for denial of access) are unlikely to offer cover for COVID-19. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.
Businesses with event cancellation policies that include unspecified notifiable disease extensions should be able to make a claim for the necessary and unavoidable cancellation, abandonment, curtailment, postponement and disruption of their event for reasons beyond the control of organisers and participants (subject to the other terms and exclusions of their policy).
Insurance for major events is often bespoke to the specific event, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their insurer or broker.
Protection from eviction for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction.
These measures will mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June.
There is the option for the government to extend this period if needed.
This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. Commercial tenants are protected from eviction if they are unable to pay rent.
All commercial tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are eligible.
How to access the scheme
The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent. No action is required.
Extension of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) arrangements
BIDs will be able to extend the maximum duration of their BID arrangements until 31 March 2021 by delaying BID ballots due to take place this year. This enables BIDs, and the local authorities who administer the ballot process, to concentrate on responding to the current emergency.
The measures apply to any BID in England due to ballot between now and 31 December 2020.
How to access the scheme
The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent. No action is required.
Support for businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Because some elements of business support are devolved, the measures you can access may differ if your business is in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
This website will help you to find government support which is currently available to businesses. It is split into themes which can help you find what you are looking for.
COVID-19 Support for Businesses
Business Wales In response to the COVID-19 outbreak the Welsh Government has announced almost £2bn of support for businesses in Wales, in addition to the support provided by the UK Government. Due to unprecedented demand Welsh Government has released a further and final £100 million into phase 1 of the COVID-19 Economic Resilience Fund.
There are packages of support are designed to cover as much of the Welsh Economy as possible, and are mainly focused around providing financial support for businesses, as detailed in the links on the Business Wales website, however business advisory support is available online through the Business Wales service to assist you with financial planning and recovery when the outbreak ends, and businesses start to consider their recovery.
The COVID-19 Business Support Eligibility Checker will take you through what support is available for your specific type of business, and there are useful resources available in the FAQ and Useful Resources section to simply identify what type of support is available.
This is an incredibly difficult time for the whole of the Welsh economy, the support that Government is providing is designed to support as many businesses as possible through the outbreak.
Rules on Carrying Over Annual Leave to be Relaxed to Support Key Industries During COVID-19
Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years.
Government to amend regulations to allow annual leave to be carried over into the next 2 years
measures will ensure workers won’t lose their leave entitlements
move gives flexibility to business at a time when it is needed most
Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years, under measures introduced by Business Secretary Alok Sharma today (Friday 27 March).
Currently, almost all workers are entitled to 28 days holiday including bank holidays each year. However, most of this entitlement cannot be carried between leave years, meaning workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.
There is also an obligation on employers to ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year – failure to do so could result in a financial penalty.
The regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.
This will mean staff can continue working in the national effort against the coronavirus without losing out on annual leave entitlement.
The changes will also ensure all employers affected by COVID-19 have the flexibility to allow workers to carry over leave at a time when granting annual leave could leave them short-staffed in some of Britain’s key industries, such as food and healthcare.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
Whether it is in our hospitals, or our supermarkets, people are working around the clock to help our country deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Today’s changes will mean these valued employees do not lose out on the annual leave they are entitled to as a result of their efforts, and employers are not penalised.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
From our fields to our supermarkets, we are hugely grateful to the many people working around the clock to keep the nation fed.
At this crucial time, relaxing laws on statutory leave will help ensure key workers can continue the important work to keep supplies flowing, but without losing the crucial time off they are entitled to.
We welcome the measures the food industry is already taking to keep shelves stocked and supply chains resilient, and will continue to support them with their response to coronavirus.
The changes will amend the Working Time Regulations, which apply to almost all workers, including agency workers, those who work irregular hours, and workers on zero-hours contracts.
The change is aimed at allowing businesses under particular pressure from the impacts of COVID-19 the flexibility to better manage their workforce, while protecting workers’ right to paid holiday.
Notes to editors
1. The Working Time Regulations 1998 convey a range of health and safety protections on workers, including daily and weekly rest breaks and paid statutory annual leave. Annual leave is granted by regulations 13 and 13A of the Working Time Regulations 1998, giving 4 weeks and 1.6 weeks of annual leave respectively.
2. The 4 weeks of annual leave granted by regulation 13 cannot generally be carried between leave years, with exceptions when a worker cannot take annual leave due to sickness or maternity leave. The 1.6 weeks of annual leave granted by regulation 13A can be carried forward one leave year (but no further) through an agreement between workers and their employers.
3. There is an obligation on an employer to ensure that their workers have an adequate opportunity to take their holiday. This holiday cannot be replaced with a payment in lieu unless the worker is leaving employment.
4. The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amends the Working Time Regulations 1998 to create a further exemption relating specifically to COVID-19. Where it is not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled due to the coronavirus, they have a right to carry the 4 weeks under regulation 13 into the next 2 leave years. This will not apply to the 1.6 weeks under regulation 13A leave, but this can be carried forward one year by agreement between workers and employers.
5. For the purposes of annual leave, a year is the leave year as agreed in writing between the worker and their employer, usually stipulated in a worker’s contract. Although for some workers this will align with the calendar year (1 January to 31 December), it can be any year long period that is agreed upon.
6. All employers are subject to the Working Time Regulations 1998, and thus will be subject to the changes in the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.
7. All workers are subject to the Working Time Regulations 1998 unless they are subject to a different set of regulations. The Working Time Regulations 1998 do not apply to:
workers covered by the Merchant Shipping (Hours of Work) Regulations 2002
workers covered by the Fishing Vessels (Working Time: Sea-fishermen) Regulations 2004
workers covered by the Merchant Shipping (Working Time: Inland Waterways) Regulations 2003
8. Furthermore, the regulations giving a right to paid annual leave do not apply to:
where characteristics peculiar to certain specific services such as the armed forces, or to certain specific activities in the civil protection services conflict with the regulations
workers covered by the Civil Aviation (Working Time) Regulations 2004
the activities of workers who are doctors in training
Conformity Assessment Procedures for Protective Equipment
The COVID-19 is transmitted via small airborne droplets emitted by infected people when sneezing, coughing or talking. Therefore, a wide array of protective products designed to ensure protection against airborne particles or small droplets are used such as: face masks, gloves, coveralls, etc.
Most of these products are among the so-called ‘harmonised products’ for which there is specific EU product legislation in place. A majority of the products used in the context of the current health crisis, including FFP-type masks, are considered as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hence fall under the scope of Regulation (EU) 2016/425.
Other products such as medical gloves, surgical masks, intensive care and other medical equipment are products falling within the scope of the EU legal framework on medical devices – Council Directive 93/42/EEC, to be replaced by Regulation (EU) 2017/745 as from 26 May 20201.
Each of the two legal frameworks fully harmonises the performance requirements for the products that it covers in order to ensure protection of the health and safety of users. Thus, products manufactured in accordance with these rules can circulate freely throughout the internal market and Member States may not introduce additional and diverging requirements regarding the manufacturing and placement on the market of such products.
Government Launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp
The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.
This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.
The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government.
The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.
The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.
To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
A set of menu options is then presented which the user can choose from and then be sent relevant guidance from GOV.UK pages as well as links to GOV.UK for further information.
Prof Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director, Public Health England, said:
This service will help us ensure the public has a trusted source for the right information about coronavirus, updated with the latest public health guidance and providing assurance that they are not misled by any of the false information circulating.
Matt Idema, Chief Operating Officer, WhatsApp, said:
At difficult times like these, people are using WhatsApp more than ever to connect with and support their friends, family and communities. We are pleased to be able to provide the UK Government with the communications tools to help them answer the public’s questions about the virus with reliable, timely health advice, in order to keep people safe.
Other recent Government communications include:
Earlier this week the government texted people across the UK to inform them of the new rules announced by the Prime Minister on 23 March 2020. Details here – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-sms-messages
The Government has also sent text messages to the vulnerable as part of the shielding package announced by the Prime Minister on 22 March 2020. Details here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
Coronavirus-related Fraud Reports Increase by 400% in March
Updated figures show there have been 105 reports to Action Fraud since 1 February 2020.
Recently the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reported a new trend in fraud related to Coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Updated figures show there have been 105 reports to Action Fraud since 1 February 2020, with total losses reaching nearly £970,000.
The first report relating to Coronavirus, or COVID-19, was received on 9 February. There were 20 more reports that month. Since then, there have been 46 reports between the 1 March and 13 March, and 38 reports in just four days (14 March – 18 March).
What scams are we seeing?
The majority of reports are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products, which have never arrived.
We have also received over 200 reports of coronavirus-themed phishing emails. These attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details.
Some of the tactics being used in phishing emails include:
• Fraudsters purporting to be from a research group that mimic the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). They claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area but to access this information the victim needs to either: click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page; or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account.
• Fraudsters providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where victims are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates.
• Fraudsters sending investment scheme and trading advice encouraging people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn.
• Fraudsters purporting to be from HMRC offering a tax refund and directing victims to a fake website to harvest their personal and financial details. The emails often display the HMRC logo making it look reasonably genuine and convincing.
Superintendent Sanjay Andersen, Head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said:
“Fraudsters will use any opportunity they can to take money from innocent people. This includes exploiting tragedies and global emergencies.
“The majority of scams we are seeing relate to the online sale of protective items, and items that are in short supply across the country, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We’re advising people not to panic and to think about the purchase they are making. When you’re online shopping it’s important to do your research and look at reviews of the site you are buying from.”
Graeme Biggar, Director General of the National Economic Crime Centre, said:
“We have already seen fraudsters using the COVID-19 pandemic to scam people looking to buy medical supplies online, sending emails offering fake medical support and targeting people who may be vulnerable or increasingly isolated at home.
“These frauds try to lure you in with offers that look too good to be true, such as high return investments and ‘healthcare opportunities’, or appeals for you to support those who are ill or bogus charities.
“The advice is simple, think very carefully before you hand over your money, and don’t give out your personal details unless you are sure who you are dealing with.
“We are working together across law enforcement, government and the private sector to combat this criminal activity and protect the public. If you think you have been a victim please report to Action Fraud.”
Protect yourself 1) Watch out for scam messages Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
2) Shopping online: If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.