LATEST GOVERNMENT COVID-19 NEWS

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin – 10 July 2020This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19). All coronavirus business support information can be found at gov.uk/business-supportRe-opening of further businesses and venues in EnglandAccess free support from experts and help your business recover from the impact of CoronavirusNew Updates and GuidanceRequests for Business Intelligence and Assistance
Re-opening of further businesses and venues in England

Sport and recreation: From Saturday 11 July outdoor swimming pools and outdoor water parks are permitted in law to reopen. From Saturday 25 July it is proposed that sports facilities and venues, such as indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks will be permitted to open. All recreation and leisure businesses and facilities are strongly advised to follow guidance on operating within the visitor economy and guidance for providers of sports and leisure facilities.Close-contact service providers: Close-contact service providers, including beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios, physical therapy businesses and spas across England will be able to reopen from Monday 13 July, excluding any services in the highest risk zone. All close-contact service providers are strongly advised to follow guidance on how to work safely.Performing arts: Performing arts including outdoor theatres, opera, dance and music can resume from Saturday 11 July provided they take place outside and with a limited and socially distanced audience. Guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants is available here.

Guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services has also been updated with information on entertainment permitted in venues and fire risk assessments for repurposed spaces.If your business is reopening soon, you can use our guidance finder to help you find the information most relevant to you. Find guidance for your business.

This guidance applies to England, except for Leicester. See separate guidance for Leicester.
Access free support from experts and help your business recover from the impact of Coronavirus

The Recovery Advice for Business scheme, supported by the government and hosted on the Enterprise Nation website, gives 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. Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers are on hand to offer free advice, until 31st December. Small and medium sized businesses can sign up, take the diagnostic tool and access support.

Advice will focus on key areas:accounting and financepeople and building a teamplanning, strategy and pivotingmarketing, PR and social mediatechnology and digital toolsFind out more here or get started today at enterprisenation.com/freesupport 
New Updates and Guidance – NewEat Out to Help Out Scheme

Find more detailed information on the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme and how to offer the discount to your customers. You can also read guidance on how to register for the scheme.

Reduced VAT rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractionsIf you are a VAT registered business, check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions here. The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

Job Retention BonusThe Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021. The bonus will provide additional support to retain employees. To be eligible, employees will need to:earn at least £520 per month (above the Lower Earnings Limit) on average for November, December and Januaryhave been furloughed by you at any point and legitimately claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Schemehave been continuously employed by you up until at least 31 January 2021.Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021. More information about this scheme will be available by 31 July and full guidance will be published in the Autumn.

Information for businesses in ScotlandThe Scottish Government published Phase 3 of its route map through and out of the crisis on 9 July. Find more information here. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and Scottish Government have also announced that theory tests and motorcycle training will restart in Scotland on Wednesday 22 July, and motorcycle tests and tractor tests will restart on Monday 3 August.

Open consultation – Plastic Packaging TaxAt the March Budget, the government announced key decisions on the design of the Plastic Packaging Tax ahead of its commencement in April 2022. This included extending the scope of the tax to plastic packaging which has been filled before being imported into the UK (i.e. bottles which are filled with liquid). The tax will impact a wide range of industries including retail, construction and manufacturing. You can find out more information about how the tax might affect you in the consultation document. As a result of COVID-19 the consultation period has been extended by 3 months, with a new closing date of 20 August 2020. Read the consultation document and submit a response here.

 CMA open letter to all package holiday businesses – The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has published an open letter to all businesses involved in organising package holidays for UK consumers.UpdatedHow to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirusInformation about ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests’ has been added here. If you’re providing testing kits to your employees, outside of the government’s national testing scheme, either directly or by purchasing tests that are carried out by a third party, no Income Tax or Class 1A National Insurance contributions will be due.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Reminder of key datesClaiming for employees furloughed on or before 30 June. Claim by 31 July for employees furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for periods ending on or before 30 June.Get ready for changes from 1 August. Employers will no longer be able to use a CJRS grant to cover National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions for furloughed employees from 1 August. You can submit August claims in advance, from 20 July.Working out your claims. Use HMRC’s online examples and calculator to help work out what you can claim, for claims ending on or before 31 July. From 10 July you will also be able to use these to help you work out claims ending on or before 31 August.Made a mistake on your claim? You can now delete a claim online within 72 hours of submitting it.More information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available here.

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