Update from Visit County Durham
You will be aware that all VCD campaign and marketing activity stopped in March; the team focus switched to business support, advice and guidance, and the development of a virtual visit content hub and micro site - www.thisisdurham.com/lovedurham, encouraging consumers to ‘#LoveDurham from your sofa.’
Following the announcement from the Prime Minister on Sunday 10 May, regarding it now being possible to drive to other locations for exercise, irrespective of distance, we do not intend to change our consumer messaging at this stage.
We do not feel this is a message suitable for the destination at this time. There is still widespread concern within the industry that the loosening of restrictions may see a return to crowded car parks and people flocking to rural and coastal locations, at a time when the resident community is still concerned about an influx of visitors. Therefore, we will continue to focus on promoting a ‘virtual visit’ to the county, which in essence is an inspiration and planning tool for a future visit, whenever that may be.
We are working closely with local, regional and national partners on recovery planning for Durham’s visitor economy, and acknowledge that building confidence amongst businesses, as well as consumers, with regards to adhering to Government guidelines will be key to recovery, and we will continue to support businesses and consult them in our recovery planning.
By working in partnership with the industry, we will be ready to promote our amazing county, to existing and new audiences, when it is appropriate to do so.
Michelle Gorman, managing director and Ivor Stolliday, chair of Visit County Durham.
Help us Save our Industry
By the time the tourism industry opens it will already have lost four months of trading. Social distancing restrictions will limit opportunities to recoup losses, with additional costs of PPE and other measures, and before we know it winter will be upon us again. Our survey work shows that business confidence beyond the summer period plummets and the picture worsens further when looking a year or more ahead. Guaranteed Government support for the industry through the winter, confirmed now, is urgently required. That’s why we are working with Cumbria Tourism and backing a petition calling for this.
With your help let’s make this campaign gather national focus and get national support from politicians, industry and visitors.
Please can we ask for your help. Will you sign our petition HERE and share the link and our social media posts with your staff, customers. Together let’s make our voices heard and help save businesses, jobs and services. #savetourismjobs
Latest information and Announcements
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 email@example.com
- From Monday 6th July, Go North East will be adding further weekday services to their schedule. This provides around 75% of their usual weekday timetable and includes most peak services. Weekend services are running at around 65% of usual timetable.
- Government announces £10m for small businesses to kickstart tourism. The package will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses following the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses can use the funding to pay for specialist professional advice such as human resources, legal or financial expertise, to adopt new technology and online systems or to purchase new equipment. 100% of the money will come from government with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially.
- The government has announced that from 10th July passengers returning or visiting England from certain destinations including Germany, France, Spain and Italy will no longer need to self-isolate on arrival in the country. The exemption list of countries, unless a passenger has visited or stopped in any other country or territory in the preceding 14 days, is subject to change.
- Updated guidance has been made to the Working Safely During Coronavirus information, including for Heritage locations, Hotels and other guest accommodation, restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, shops and branches, and the visitor economy.
- Notice to display to show you have made your workplace COVID-secure.
- Following easements on business opening from 4th July, the government has updated information on Closing certain businesses and venues in England.
- The Competition and Markets Authority has published a third update from its COVID-19 taskforce, which monitors and responds to competition and consumer problems arising from the pandemic.
- The VAT payments deferral scheme ended on 30th June 2020 as previously set out. If you’re a UK VAT-registered business that deferred VAT payments between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020, you now need to: set-up cancelled Direct Debits in enough time for HMRC to take payment; continue to submit VAT returns as normal, and on time; pay the VAT in full on payments due after 30th June. Any VAT payments you have deferred between 20th March and 30th June should be paid in full on or before 31st March 2021.
- The flexible furlough scheme started on 1st July. Businesses now have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part-time.
- Check if you should go back to work. This service helps you find out if you should go back to work during this phase of coronavirus lockdown. If you’re currently on furlough you can stay on furlough. However, if you are asked to come off furlough by your employer, you can use this service to find out if you should be going back into work, and how to return to work safely. If you or anyone in your household currently have symptoms of coronavirus then you must not go to work.
- A New tool has been developed to help businesses in England identify whether they can reopen safely during coronavirus. This tool encourages businesses to carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make. This guidance is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen. (21st June)
- The Government has extended measures to prevent struggling companies from eviction until the end of September. A new code of practice has been developed with the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported. (21st June)
- The Business Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP) has produced advice for businesses to help improve energy efficiency and reduce bills. (9th June)
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has created a Coronavirus Business Support Blog to help businesses get the support they need (5th May)
- WTM Portfolio has launched a new online portal, WTM Global Hub, to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world (23rd April)
- A new £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back has been launched. The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. Businesses can apply for support through the fund from today, Monday 29th June. (27th June)
- A new template is available for download for employers who will be claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The new form is for claims on or after 1 July. (21st June)
- Updated guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme including details on how the scheme will change from 1st July. (12th June)
- HMRC are running webinars on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th June on the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. (12th June)
- Updated guidance on extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. (12th June)
- Updated guidance on activities that can be supported through the Reopening High Streets safely Fund, how it will be administered, and key European Regional Development Fund contractual requirements. (12th June)
- TODAY is the final day an employer can furlough an employee for the first time through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. (9th June)
- FAQ page has been added to guidance to help local authorities and partners deliver activities supported through the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. (8th June)
- Government to provide guarantees of up to £10 billion to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business-to-business transactions. (4th July)
- HMRC has produced updated information on how to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus.under Training/Events (3rd June)
- The Local Authority Discretionary Fund is now open for applications and gives financial support to specific types of small businesses who were not eligible to apply for funding from the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund. (2nd June)
- The Chancellor announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended, with eligible individuals able to claim a second and final grant in August – the grant will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits capped at £6,570 in total. Further guidance on the second grant will be published later this month. The first SEISS grant will close to new applications on 13 July. (29th May)
- The Chancellor further announced changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back part-time – this is a month earlier than previously announced. From August 2020, the level of the grant will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June, with the last three-week furloughs before that point commencing on 10 June for new entrants. (29th May)
- Small businesses and employers across the UK who have paid statutory sick pay to staff taking coronavirus-related leave will be able to claim back the money from today under the Coronavirus Sick Pay Scheme.(26th May)
- Changes have been made to guidance for local authorities on the Local Authority Discretionary Fund – businesses who are eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme are now eligible to apply for this grant. (24th May)
- The government has announced a new £50 million fund for councils to prepare for the safe reopening of high streets and other retail spaces. (24th May)
- A new page has been published pointing businesses to the main links for making a claim to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. (15th May)
- 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. (13th May)
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is now open for applications. Check if you are eligible and find out how to make a claim. (13th May)
- The government’s £500 million Future Fund opens for applications today. UK-based companies can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors such including technology and the creative industries. (May 21st)
- An additional £20million has been committed to the Fast Start Competition for innovative businesses and start-ups driving forward new technological advances. (May 21st)
- Update on temporary changes to the VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 (7th May)
- HMRC will begin contacting customers who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The claims service will open on 13 May (4th May)
- A new top-up to local business grant funds scheme has been announced to help small businesses including bed and breakfasts (2nd May)
- Advice for food businesses in responding to the coronavirus outbreak has been updated. (27th June)
- The Environment Agency has issued advice and guidance about restarting private sewage treatment works following the government’s announcement that the hospitality and tourism industry can reopen. (27th June)
- Further considerations for the hospitality sector outlined in government guidance has been published by UKHospitality and available to all. (25th June)
- Government outlines support for pubs, cafes and restaurants with temporary changes to planning and licensing laws. (25th June)
- The Prime Minister announced a greater reopening up of the economy from the 4th July subject to businesses being able to follow new guidance. (23rd June)
- Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of further easements of the coronavirus restrictions , guidance has been issued on businesses and venues that can reopen from 4th July. (23rd June)
- Updated guidance for businesses on working safely during the coronavirus pandemic including guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars, takeaway services, shops, and the visitor economy (which includes accommodation). (23rd June)
- The government has provided an updated guidance on businesses that must remain closed to the public. (23rd June)
- Updated guidance for accommodation providers where a guest is displaying signs of the COVID-19 virus while staying overnight. (22nd June)
- The Health and Social Care Secretary announced plans to ease guidance for people shielding from coronavirus from Monday 6th July. (22nd June)
- Updated government guidance to reflect current regulations on the closure of certain businesses and venues as part of social distancing measures. (15th June)
- The Institute of Tourist Guides has issued guidance to ensure that tour guides can work safely and give confidence to visitors wishing to use guiding services. (14th June)
- Updated government guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. (14th June)
- New guidance has been published advising people how they can see people they do not live with, while maintaining precautions to protect against coronavirus. (11th June)
- The Prime Minister announced that from Monday 15 June, attractions that people can visit in their car, such as safari parks and drive-in cinemas, can now open to the public. Similarly, zoos can open to visitors (outdoor areas only) if they follow Government guidance on social distancing. (10th June)
- Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak have also been updated to reflect the Prime Minister’s announcements. (10th June)
- Shops in England selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June. (9th June)
- From today Transport operators are required to ensure that passengers travelling to England by sea, air or rail from outside the common travel area are provided with information about coronavirus, and related duties and public health guidance at 3 stages of the passenger journey – the booking stage, the check-in stage and onboard the vessel, aircraft or train. (8th June)
- The government has issued updated guidance for accommodation providers. (5th June)
- Border measures will come into force next week from 8 June, all international arrivals will have to self-isolate for 14 days except those who are on the short list of exemptions. (3rd June)
- Updated guidance for providers on the phased return of sport and recreation. (1st June)
- Official guidance has been updated for shops, branches and other retail spaces on working safely during COVID-19. Opening will be contingent on businesses following this guidance, and the Government will have the power to compel compliance. (29th May)
- Guidance on the NHS test and trace service explains how employers and businesses can play their part in the programme to slow the spread of coronavirus. (27th May)
- New guidance is available that outline how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance. (13th May)
- New guidance for the owners and operators of urban and green spaces has been published to help social distancing. (13th May)
- The Government has published staying safe outside your home guidance on what the new rules will mean – read the FAQs which include going to work (11th May)
- New guidance for employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating safely. There are 8 workplace guidance documents available for construction and other outdoor work, factories and warehouses, homes, labs and research facilities, office and contact centres, restaurants offering takeaway or delivery, shops and branches and vehicles (11th May)
- Guidance for businesses seeking to help voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been published (6th May)
- Guidance on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cybercrime during COVID-19 has been published (27th April)
Health & Safety
- VisitBritain in partnership with the UK’s national tourist organisations, has launched ‘We’re Good to Go’, an industry standard mark that helps businesses demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked they have the required processes in place. The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the industry. (24th June)
- If your business needs Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to open and operate safely, take the North East COVID-19 Economic Response group’s survey to help monitor demand in the region. (24th June)
- The AA has launched its COVID Confident assessment scheme which will indicate to customers that a participating establishment has in place the necessary risk assessment, safety measures and staff training to re-open safely, in line with the UK’s respective government guidelines as they are published. (17th June)
- The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has started awarding its Safe Travels stamp to destinations that have adopted its safety and hygiene protocols. (8th June)