Latest information on COVID-19

Latest information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Latest information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak has developed fast and now covers all continents, with various measures put in place by governments across the globe. For the latest information on the pandemic visit the Government website.


We would advise all partners to regularly check the VisitBritain and Government business support web pages, which are being continually updated with the latest advice and information for UK tourism businesses.


As the situation evolves, we recommend all County Durham tourism businesses and stakeholders stay informed by reading the latest health information from the above resources. Please also provide feedback and comments direct to


Latest announcements:

  • HMRC are delivering a programme of webinars on measures to support employers, employees and the self-employed through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. You can watch a video of the first recorded webinar and register for future webinars.Click here >
  • New guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been announced. Read in full here >
  • Further information on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been published on the Government's Business Support website. A frequently asked questions page is also available. Read more here >
  • HMRC has produced guidance to help employers find out what equipment, services or supplies are taxable if your employees are working from home due to coronavirus. Read more >
  • Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This is to make it easier for employers to carry them out.
  • Visits to second homes, campsites, caravan parks etc. do not constitute essential travel. People are advised to stay in their primary residence to limit pressure on services. Read more >
  • Accommodation providers should follow the guidance and take steps to close for commercial use as quickly as possible. However, full consideration should be given to the possible exclusions. Read more >

The Government is asking businesses if they can offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support, including:

  • hotel rooms, transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
  • medical testing equipment, medical equipment design, protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
    • manufacturing equipment
    • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
    • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
    • social care or childcare
    • Businesses can share the areas they can offer support through the online portal.


View our latest Grapevine COVID-19 business support e-newsletter >
Published 01/04/20


5 steps to take today

The Government is urging businesses dealing with the unprecedented challenges of Coronavirus to take the following key steps:


1. Get help with your finances
For small and medium sized businesses, the new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available for applications. For more information and how to apply, visit their website.

You can also speak to your bank or lender to discuss options.

The Bank of England’s new lending facility for larger firms is also open for applications. Find out more on their website.


2. See what you're entitled to
The Government is also making cash grants and additional funding available to certain sectors and smaller businesses.

Find out more about the schemes available, whether you’re eligible and how to apply on their website.


3. Support your staff
Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Government will pay salaries (at 80% of current pay up to £2,500 a month) for workers who are no longer working and would otherwise be made redundant.

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 2 weeks of COVID-19 related statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full. Find out more on their website.

You will also find messaging in their toolkit that an be used in your internal staff communications.


4. Check guidance on tax
If you are concerned about paying your tax you can talk to HMRC about managing payments.

The Government has already postponed upcoming VAT payments through to June, cancelled business rates for many sectors and delayed July’s self-assessment tax payments until January 2021. To find out more visit their website.


5. Follow the latest advice
The Government website will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.

The Prime Minister’s daily press conference, live streamed on the @10DowningStreet Twitter feed, will also provide the latest updates on health advice, support for businesses and employees, as well as a range of other issues.

Mental health and wellbeing advice

The World Health Organisation has issued advice to help people deal with anxiety and worries related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including seeking information and practical guidance from reliable news sources and staying connected with family and friends via email, social media or telephone. Read the advice in full here >


Covid-19 Impact Survey

Undoubtedly, the visitor economy is facing challenging times right now and organisations are required to make fast paced changes to adapt to the conditions around us. By understanding the impact that the Covid-19 Pandemic is having upon Durham’s visitor economy it will help us to understand the work that needs to take place in supporting businesses, and in future months support you to plan your recovery.


You may have already completed our first survey, the information from which has been vital for us to understand the initial impact.  We have now ended this survey and will be contacting you in the next couple of weeks with a new survey to help analyse the ongoing impact on the county’s visitor economy and track the changes over this period.  We appreciate your support in this matter.

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