Latest information on COVID-19

Previous COVID-19 Announcements - Guidance
Previous COVID-19 Announcements - Guidance

Previous COVID-19 Announcements - Guidance

  • The government has produced guidance for actions that drivers, operators and owners of taxis or private hire vehicles (PHVs) can take to protect against coronavirus. Taxis and private hire vehicles providing services during the current national restrictions should continue operating services as normal for those who have a legally permitted reason to travel. To help control the spread of the virus you should remind passengers of the rule but you do not have to refuse to carry them. (19 November)
  • A new public information campaign has launched today by the government to highlight how letting fresh air into indoor spaces can reduce the risk of infection from coronavirus by over 70%. Part of the campaign includes a short film showing how coronavirus lingers in enclosed spaces and how to keep your home ventilated. (18 November)
  • Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced restaurants, pubs and cafes will get automatic freedoms to provide takeaway services for another year. (12 November)
  • It has been announced that the 2022 May Bank Holiday Weekend will be moved to Thursday 2 June and an additional Bank Holiday on Friday 3 June will see a four-day weekend to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s  Platinum Jubilee - the first time any British monarch has reached this historic milestone. (12 November)
  • From 7 November visitors from Denmark arriving in the UK will be denied entry, due to outbreaks of coronavirus in mink farms, with a variant strain of the virus spreading to some local communities. British Nationals, visa holders and permanent residents who have travelled to Denmark in the last 14 days will have to self-isolate along with their household. Those who arrived from Denmark before 4am on 7 November in the last 14 days are asked to self-isolate along with their households. The length of that self-isolation will depend on when travellers were last in Denmark. There are no exemptions from self-isolation if arriving from Denmark. (11 November)
  • Guidance has been updated for Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Takeaway Services wherein restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. Sale of alcohol is permitted via pre-order for collection or delivery services only. Anyone who can work from home, should (section 1.1) and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals should not attend work if they can't work from home for this period of restrictions (section 2.1). (10 November)
  • Go North East has announced changes to a small number of services during the current national restrictions, and introduced further measures to protect bus users and make services even safer. (10 November)
  • Guidance has been updated on closure of certain business and venues on England. (6 November)
  • Denmark was removed from the England Travel Corridor list at 4am this morning, meaning that people arriving from this destination from this time will need to self-isolate for two weeks. (6 November)
  • Germany and Sweden will be removed from the England Travel Corridor list at 4am Saturday 7 November, meaning that people arriving from these destinations from this time will need to self-isolate for two weeks. (6 November)
  • As of today, 5 November, new national restrictions are now in place for England. This guidance has been updated with some areas of particular interest to tourism businesses:
    • If you were already on holiday prior to national restrictions coming into force, you should return to your home as soon as practical and comply with the ‘stay at home’ requirements in your holiday accommodation in the meantime.
    • Businesses and venues that can remain open, now include outdoor grounds of botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks (indoor attractions at these venues must close); car parks; public toilets; and motorway service areas – the full list of businesses and venues that must close/can remain open can be found on pages 29-32 of the regulations.
    • Further clarifications have been made for weddings and funerals (5 November)
  • The regulations for new restrictions in England has been published for Parliament to debate today. (4 November)
  • Guidance for the public, providers of outdoor sport facilities, elite athletes, personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation has been updated (3rd November)
  • The Prime Minister announced national restrictions in England. The main points are:
    • There is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday. This means people cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions. Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, except for specific exceptions including for work.
    • Inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach, and those currently on a domestic holiday will be allowed to finish their holidays, but are still subject to the requirements in England not to go out without a reasonable excuse.
    • The government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close, including:
      • all non-essential retail, including but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops
      • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks
      • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, zoos, and other animal attractions, botanical gardens
      • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons
      • Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open
      • Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers
      • Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
      • Playgrounds can remain open
      • Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and deliver services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.
      • Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law
      • A full list of business closures will be published and set out in law
      • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances
      • All non-essential travel by private or public transport should be avoided.
      • Essential travel includes, but is not limited to essential shopping, travelling to work where your workplace is open or you cannot work from home, travelling to education and for caring responsibilities, hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health (2nd November)
  • Update to guidance for  providers of sport and gym/leisure facilities about keeping customers safe. (29 October)
  • Update to employer guidance asking employees for a shielding note in relation to claiming employees’ coronavirus-related statutory sick pay. (29 October)
  • The German Government now also warns against non-essential travel to the whole of the UK with the exception of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man from 24 October 2020. (23 October)
  • Liechtenstein will be removed from the England Travel Corridor list at 4am Sunday 25 October, meaning that people arriving from this destination from this time will need to self-isolate for two weeks. (23 October)
  • The Canary Islands, Mykonos, the Maldives and Denmark are to be added to the England Travel Corridor list at 4am Sunday 25 October, meaning that people arriving from these destinations will not need to self-isolate. (23 October)
  • Guidance has been made available for those who need to return to their Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim. The online service allows users to check the status of their payment, if they think the grant amount is too low or HMRC has asked for claim details to be updated. (please note applications for the second grant are now closed). (21 October)
  • Update to guidance for those who work in performing arts in England on thinking about risk and managing performances. (20 October)
  • Update to guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships in England to reflect the local COVID alert levels. (20 October)
  • Update to the online Finding Financial Support tool, that helps employers and the self-employed find out what financial support is available to them and how to access it in light of all the recent changes. (20 October)
  • Clarification has been provided by DCMS on Travel and Overnight Stays in England:
    • In Local COVID Alert Level Very High areas: Residents of very high alert areas should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, except if they need to do so for work, education or caring responsibilities and they must not stay with anyone they do not live with elsewhere in the UK. People are being asked to avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area where possible, except for those who need to for work, education or caring responsibilities. Residents from a very high alert level area may travel to hotels and other guest accommodation within that area but should only do so with people in their household or support bubble.
    • In Local COVID Alert Level High areas: People can still travel within high alert level areas to hotels and other guest accommodation, but should only do this with other people in their household or support bubble. People can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but must only do so with other people in their household or support bubble.
    • In Local COVID Alert Level Medium areas: Motorway services, airports and seaports will be exempted from the 10pm hospitality curfew (though no alcohol is to be served between 10pm and 5am); In addition to delivery and drive-thru, hospitality venues will now be able to offer a click-and-collect service for the sale of food and non-alcoholic drink between 10pm and 5am, provided customers have pre-ordered by phone, online, or by post; Theatres, concert halls and cinemas will be exempt from requiring people to be seated whilst ordering food and drink; The restrictions on singing, dancing and loud music in hospitality premises will be removed. (19 October)
  • The government has updated the Working Safely during Coronavirus guidance across all settings. (15 October)
  • Italy, San Marino and Vatican City will be removed from the England Travel Corridor list at 4am Sunday 18 October, meaning that people arriving from these destinations from this time will need to self-isolate for two weeks. (15 October)
  • The Greek island of Crete is to be added to the England Travel Corridor list at 4am Sunday 18th October, meaning that people arriving from these destinations from this time will not need to self-isolate. (15 October)
  • The Welsh Government has announced that they are preparing urgent action to prevent people who live in areas with high coronavirus infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales. Under new regulations being prepared by Welsh Ministers, people living in areas with a high-prevalence of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland would not be able to travel to Wales for the time being. The new restrictions are planned to come into force on Friday October 16 at 6pm. (15 October)
  • The Events Industry Forum has published festival guidance. The guidance includes contributions from across the festival industry and was worked on in collaboration with DCMS and Public Health England. It covers eight key themes and COVID-19 safety measures, including medical and welfare arrangements; crowd considerations; response plans; security; site adjustments; and specific mitigation measures. The press release and link to the guidance is available on the BVEP website. (15 October)
  • The Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships has been updated to reflect the changes in regulations. (15 October)
  • The safer travel guidance for passengers has been updated with information on local COVID alert levels. (15 October)
  • The guidance for managing beaches, the countryside and coastal areas has been updated to reflect the new guidance on local alert levels. (14 October)
  • The safer travel guidance for passengers has been updated with instructions about using the NHS COVID-19 app. (14 October)
  • Local authority powers to impose restrictions under coronavirus regulations guidance has been updated with examples of premises which would form part of essential infrastructure’: ‘individual hospitality settings’ and ‘where safe and feasible, delivery takeaway options should be allowed to continue operating’. (14 October)
  • The Prime Minister yesterday announced a new three tiered system of COVID-19 Alert Levels – Medium/Tier 1; High/Tier 2; Very High/Tier 3. The new system will apply from 00:01 on Wednesday 14th October. County Durham falls under ‘High/Level 2’ which are largely restrictions already in place since 30th September. (1h October)
  • Guidance to maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Test, in particular adding further clarification on the venues in scope of the policy, and how to verify whether an individual has checked in on the NHS COVID-19 app. (12 October)
  • Businesses are being encouraged to file their accounts with Companies House online to avoid delays due to a shortage of staff working in the office. (9th October)
  • The guidance for meeting with others safely (social distancing) has been update for England. However, if you live in an area where local restrictions are in place you should also consult the local restrictions guidance for information about what you can and can’t do to manage the outbreak. (9 October)
  • The guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships has been updated. Changes cover the rules on face coverings, distance between tables, singing in groups of more than six, dancing, music volume and enforcement. (9 October)
  • A new Global Travel Taskforce to support the travel industry and the safe recovery of international travel has been launched by the UK Government today. The taskforce’s work will include considering how a testing regime for international arrivals could be implemented to boost safe travel to and from the UK; what steps the UK can take to facilitate business and tourist travel on a bilateral and global basis, through innovative testing models and other non-testing means; more broadly, what steps the UK can take to increase consumer confidence and reduce the barriers to a safe and sustainable recovery of international travel. The taskforce will report to the Prime Minister no later than early November. (8 October)
  • Updated guidance has been issued for Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Takeaways allowing the taking of payment at the counter/bar if safety measures are in place. (7 October)
  • Advice for Food businesses has been updated to include 10pm closure, collecting NHS Test and Trace information and working from home. (6 October)
  • Guidance has been updated on working safely during coronavirus for providers of saunas and steam rooms. (2 October)
  • Turkey, Poland and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustasius and Saba will be removed from the England Travel Corridor list at 4am Saturday 3 October, meaning that people arriving from these destinations from this time will need to self-isolate for two weeks - from today the penalties issued to people who breach self-isolation after returning from a non-exempt country will increase. The penalties, which mirror those recently announced for those breaching self-isolation following a positive COVID test or contact from Trace & Trace, will now increase incrementally for repeat offenders – rising from £1,000 for first offences up to £10,000 for subsequent offences. (2 October)
  • The House of Commons Library has built an interactive map to track local lockdown restrictions and link to detailed COVID guidance across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (last updated 29 September) (2 October)
  • The guidance on what you can and can’t do in the North East of England has been updated to reflect the latest updates on households. (1 October)
  • Updated guidance has been issued for Working Safely during Coronavirus, principally covering providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities. (1 October)
  • Updated guidance has been issued on what to do in the event of one or more confirmed cases of coronavirus in your organisation. (30 September)
  • The government has announced further local restrictions for North East England. Current guidance in several areas of the North East advises residents not to mix with people outside their household or bubble in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants. In response to high and increasing infection rates, this guidance will now be enforceable by law and subject to fines from 00:01 Wednesday 30 September. The rule applies to Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland. (29 September)
  • Further updates have been made to Working Safely during Coronavirus, including thinking about risk, keeping visitors safe, PPE and face coverings. (29 September)
  • The limit on guests at weddings comes into force from today. Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions will be restricted to a maximum of 15 people (down from 30). (28 September)
  • From today, refusing to self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19, or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate, is now illegal in England with fines of up to £10,000. (28 September)
  • The government has published updated guidance on working safely during coronavirus. (25 September)
  • Denmark, Iceland, Slovakia and Curacao will be removed from the England Travel Corridor list at 4am Saturday 26th September, meaning that people arriving from these destinations from this time will need to self-isolate for two weeks. (25 September)
  • The Visitor Economy Working Group has shared the following clarifications on government COVID-19 guidance for hospitality and travel sectors:
    • Update to coach operators and whether coach tours can go ahead – If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six do not mingle on a tour, coach tours of over six on the coach can go ahead. People must stay in their groups of up to six (or larger if they are from one household) on all parts of the tour, e.g. whilst in hospitality settings and when visiting attractions as well as whilst on the coach. Legislation does not place any capacity constraints on public transport services, private hire vehicles or leisure tours. Operators should continue to provide COVID-secure transport services which can accommodate multiple groups of six people - the Department of Transport will update the transport guidance shortly to clarify and assist passengers and operators.
    • Business meetings of up to 30 permitted – Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. If permitted venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
    • Face coverings update – Businesses will be asked to promote the wearing of face coverings by staff and customers and compliance through signage and other appropriate means in order to be COVID-secure. There is no obligation on businesses to enforce these new measures. Rather than simply refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering, a business may instead ask that individual to put one on, bearing in mind that some people are exempt. If an individual is acting anti-socially or against the rules, staff will be able to ask them to leave, or call the police of necessary. This is a matter for the police, who can take measures of people do not comply with this law without a valid exemption – the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six is now doubled to £200 for a first offence.
    • Hotels – Hospitality services within hotels, such as hotel dining rooms and bars will need to follow the new requirement to close to the public between 10pm-5am. Hotels will still be able to provide food and drink through room service as long as it is ordered by phone or online. (25 September)
  • Today, the NHS COVID-19 app is available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. (24 September)
  • Businesses are now required by law to display official NHS QR code posters in all venues. This will make it easier for customers with the NHS COVID-19 app to ‘check-in’ and allow NHS Test and Trace to alert users in the event of a coronavirus outbreak. (24 September)
  • From today the requirement to wear a face mask is extended to include staff in hospitality and retail staff, and customers in indoor hospitality, except when they are seated at a table to eat or drink – a visor does not count as a face mask; a face mask is something which safely covers the nose and mouth and must fit securely round the side of the face. Fines for not wearing masks or following the rules has increased to £200 for a first offence. (24 September)
  • Yesterday the Prime Minister announced England-wide restrictions to address rising cases of coronavirus. Measures that have changed include:
    • Office workers who are able to work from home should do so from 23 September
    • Pubs, bars and restaurants to close at 22:00 and restricted to table service only from 24 September
    • the requirement to wear face coverings will be extended to include retail staff and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink from 24 September
    • Limit on guests at weddings reduced from 30 to 15 from 28 September
    • Plans to allow fans to return to sporting events paused
    • ‘Rule of Six’ now applies to indoor team sports
    • Fines for not wearing masks or following rules increased to £200 for first offence
  • Additional local restrictions in place for County Durham still apply such as not meeting people who do not live with you or are not part of your support bubble, either indoors or outdoors (23 September)
  • From 28 September, people will be legally required to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace. Fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000, in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel, and can increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for more serious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating. For example, this could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work. A number of steps will be taken to make sure that people are complying with the rules. A payment of £500 will be available for people in England who are on lower incomes, cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of self-isolating. Local Authorities are setting up these self-isolation support schemes which are expected to be in place by 12 October. Those who start to self-isolate from 28 September will receive backdated payments once the scheme is set up in their Local Authority. (23 September)
  • The government has issued guidance for people on or going on holiday to an area with local coronavirus restrictions or live in a restricted area and are planning on taking a holiday outside the area. (18 September)
  • Singapore and Thailand are to be added to the England Travel Corridor list at 4am Saturday 19th September, meaning that people arriving from these destinations from this time will not need to self-isolate. (18 September)
  • Slovenia and Guadeloupe will be removed from the England Travel Corridor list at 4am Saturday 19th September, meaning that people arriving from these destinations from this time will need to self-isolate for two weeks. (18 September)
  • New restrictions are being introduced across North East England from Friday 18th September to help address the significant rise in Coronavirus in the region over recent weeks. An FAQ document has been produced to provide more information. The new measures will be reviewed on a weekly basis. (17 September)
  • Guidance on NHS Test and Trace has been updated including: employers should not be asking members of staff to get tested before they come into the workplace; and people that do not have coronavirus symptoms and have not been advised to take a test by a doctor or public health professional, should not be booking a test. (17 September)
  • A new example of exceptional circumstance which may permit a person to leave their place of self-isolation has been added - if a person with a health condition or a disability that would be seriously exacerbated if they were not able to leave their accommodation to take exercise. (17 September)
  • Updated guidance has been published on the phased return of sport and recreation. (16 September)
  • From today in England, you can only socialise in groups of up to six people. (14 September)
  • The new NHS COVID-19 App is due to launch on 24th September. Early notification of the launch has been given so that venues can prepare by downloading and displaying QR codes used by the app to support NHS Test and Trace. Using QR codes will help businesses meet the new legal requirement to record the contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises. Businesses currently using their own QR system are being encouraged to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code. For those people that do not have the NHS app, businesses must provide an alternative contact recording method. (14 September)
  • Sections of the working safely during coronavirus have been updated of Heritage Locations (priority actions to take to protect staff, visitors and customers) and Hotels and Other Guest Accommodation (updated guidance on social gatherings of more than 6 people). (14 September)
  • Effective 04.00 on Saturday 12 September, Sweden will be added to England’s travel corridor list, and the following territories will be removed (meaning people travelling from these places will need to self-isolate for two weeks): Portugal (excluding Azores and Madeira); Hungary; French Polynesia and Reunion Island. (11 September)
  • The Prime Minister announced new measures to help suppress coronavirus. Simplified guidance has been published alongside the announcement, but the main points of the new measures are:
    • From Monday 14 September, it will no longer be legal to meet socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes and hospitality settings like the pub. There will be a limited number of exemptions
    • Education and work settings are unaffected, and organised team sports will still be able to proceed, as will weddings and funerals up to 30. From Monday 14 September, this limit will be enforceable in law.
    • COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together.
    • Premises and venues where people meet socially will be legally required to request the contact details of a member of every party, record and retain these details for 21 days, and provide them to NHS Test & Trace without delay when required.
    • The government will support local authorities to make further and faster use of their powers to close venues that are breaking the rules and pose a risk to public health.
    • Fines will be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain COVID Secure.
    • The government will boost the enforcement capacity of local authorities by introducing COVID Secure Marshalls to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres, and by setting up a register of Environmental Health Officers that local authorities can draw upon for support.
    • The government will restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in local lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future.
    • Plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month will be reviewed along with the intention to return audiences to stadiums and conference centres from 1 October. That doesn’t mean the programme will be scrapped entirely. The Culture Secretary is expected to provide an update in due course.
    • Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing, and will not take place in areas where incidence is high. (10 September)