Latest information on COVID-19

COVID-19 Business Hub
COVID-19 Business Hub

COVID-19 Business Hub

Latest information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced the government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England. The ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ document outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of the previous step. This assessment will be based on four tests:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern

This means that any dates given as part of the roadmap are indicative and could be pushed back depending on progress against the four tests.

Currently, England is at Step 2 of the Roadmap.

All being well, Step 3 will start no earlier than 17 May; and Step 4 no earlier than 21 June. You can see a simplified table of the steps on pages 47-48 of the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ document.


Latest Statement from Regional Leaders

The latest statement from leaders of the seven local authorities in North East England acknowledges the first step of the government’s plan for easing lockdown restrictions.


Durham Business Recovery Grant

To support local businesses in looking forward and meeting the challenge of recovery, Durham County Council has introduced a £5 million Durham Business Recovery Grant. Open to businesses in all sectors located in the County, the grant is aimed at those with a credible plan to adapt and recover from the effects of COVID-19 but requiring financial support to implement their plan.

The grants range from a minimum of £1,000 up to a maximum of £40,000 and are able to contribute 75% towards eligible recovery plan costs, with the business expected to meet a quarter of the project cost.

The grants are not intended to provide crisis funding, general working capital or subsidise losses but can be used towards costs such as adapting operational models and working practices, adapting premises or business models to attract new customers or visitors, developing and marketing new product offerings or other relevant costs to meet a defined need that will help to increase sales.

The closing date for applications is 30 April 2021.


Update from Michelle Gorman, Managing Director, Visit County Durham

Despite starting 2021 with another devastating national lockdown, I am still confident that as the year progresses, the county’s visitor economy will recover and prosper. When lockdown is lifted, families and loved ones will want to reconnect, and as a county with wide open spaces, crowd free beauty spots and businesses that hold covid-safe accreditations, Durham is best placed to capitalise on the demand for the ‘safecation’.
Until then, Visit County Durham is committed to continuing to support businesses during this incredibly challenging time. Access the Visit County Durham Covid-19 Business Hub for information and support, or email


Visit County Durham’s virtual ‘Tourism of the Future’ Autumn Conference was held on Wednesday 4th November 2020. The conference heard from Foresight Factory on future tourism trends, UKHospitality on current impacts of the pandemic and the latest industry lobbying of government, and an update from Visit County Durham. Download the presentations from the conference.


Latest information and announcements

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


The latest VCD Grapevine COVID-19 Business Support e-news


Latest announcements:

12 April


  • The online service to claim the fourth grant of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be available from late April 2021. If you’re eligible based on your tax returns, HMRC will contact you in mid-April to give you a date that you can make your claim from. It will be given to you either by email, letter or within the online service. You must make your claim on or before 1 June 2021.
  • Guidance for people who are self-employed and getting less work or no work because of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been updated with the latest rates effective from 12 April 2021.
  • Public fundraising (door-to-door, street and private site) will be permitted to return from Monday 12 April, as part of the next phase of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.


  • Step 2 of the Roadmap comes into effect from today. Non-essential retail, hairdressers, gyms, libraries, hospitality (outdoors), some outdoor attractions, and self-contained accommodation are all allowed to re-open in accordance with government guidance.

9 April



8 March 



7 March



  • VisitEngland has published wave 27 of their Consumer Sentiment Tracker which covers fieldwork conducted between 22-26 March.

6 March 


  • The government’s national restart grant scheme opened on 1 April 2021 and is being administered by local authorities. If you have previously applied for a COVID-19 business grant you do not need to apply for a restart grant, Durham County Council will automatically use the information held about your business to process the grant. To be eligible for the grant, your business must be rate-paying; in the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care or gym sectors; and trading on 1 April 2021.


31 March


30 March


Catch up on previous annnouncements

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