Self-employment, trading restrictions, and Christmas advice.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The online service for the third grant is now available.   You must make your claim between 30 November 2020 and 29 January 2021.  You can make your claim here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme and you can find out if you’re eligible for the scheme here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Trading restrictions relaxed for December and January

Retailers normally have to go through a lengthy and time-consuming process to apply to local authorities under the Town and Country Planning Act if they wish to extend hours outside the window of 9am to 7pm. 

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has announced today that from Wednesday 2 December, as England returns to a system of tiered restrictions, all non-essential retail across England will be able to reopen, and planning rules limiting opening hours will be eased to allow shops to be open for longer Monday to Saturday

“As Local Government Secretary I am relaxing planning restrictions and issuing an unambiguous request to councils to allow businesses to welcome us into their glowing stores late into the evening and beyond…How long will be a choice for shopkeepers and at the discretion of the council.

Councils should offer these hard pressed entrepreneurs and businesses the greatest possible flexibility this festive season.”  You can find details of the announcement here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/boost-for-high-street-as-jenrick-extends-opening-hours-for-christmas-shopping

Reports of more financial support for hospitality sector

There are reports this morning that the government is set to announce further support for pubs, bars and restaurants affected by being in Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions.  It is reported that details of the extra support is expected to be announced this week.  I will keep you updated.

Government issues guidance for the Christmas period

The Government has issued guidance summarising the rules in place through December and the Christmas period.  It is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-the-christmas-period

It includes:

  • Visiting shops and Christmas markets – From 2 December, the rules on who you can meet with in shops will depend on your tier. The rules might be different for indoor shops and open air shops, such as Christmas markets or Christmas tree markets. Santa’s grottos are able to open in all tiers where they are located in venues otherwise permitted to open. Venues should put in place appropriate covid-secure measures, including social distancing.  Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on who you can meet in shops will not change. This includes Boxing Day sales.  There is further information in the guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments (which has been updated for the tiers) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
  • Visiting bars, pubs and restaurants – From 2 December, the rules on who you can meet with in bars, pubs and restaurants will depend on your tier. The rules might be different for indoor and outdoor hospitality settings. Check the rules for your tier.  Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on who you can meet in bars, pubs and restaurants will not change.
  • Celebrating New Year’s Eve – You must follow the rules on where you can go and who you can meet, including on New Year’s Eve. Your Christmas bubble will no longer apply. Check the rules for your tier
  • Carol singing = COVID-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Singing, shouting and physical activity increases the risk of transmission through small droplets and aerosols. If singing does take place, steps should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission, including limiting the number of people participating as far as possible. Carol singing or carol services can take place if all attendees follow advice in the suggested principles of safer singing and guidance for the Performing Artsdeveloped by an expert group coordinated by Public Health England. This applies to both professional and amateur choirs.  Those performing or rehearsing: In a professional capacity; or as part of a supervised activity for under 18s are not limited in number and do not have to adhere to gathering limits but should still follow the performing arts guidance.  For adult amateur performances and rehearsals, you should consider the case for proceeding (or not), given the wider health context in your area and the context of your participants, particularly if vulnerable individuals are involved.  If you do proceed, you should follow performing arts guidance and will be subject to local gathering limits. This means that if more than one group of six (in tier 1) or household (in tier 2 or 3) is performing or rehearsing indoors, they must not interact, ‘mingle’ or otherwise socialise together. You should maintain social distancing between groups or households at all times, including when entering or leaving the building or in any breaks. Indoor performances – Professional and amateur choirs may perform in any indoor venue permitted to open, as per the restrictions in each tier and should follow the rules outlined above.  Based on public health advice for indoor performances, the audience or congregation should not participate in any activity that can create aerosols, including singing, shouting and chanting. The maximum number of people present should take into account the area of the space and the requirement to maintain 2m social distancing at all times. Outdoor performances – Professional and amateur choirs may perform outdoors in any venue permitted to open, as per the restrictions in each tier and should follow the rules outlined above.  Where a performance is held outdoors, an audience or congregation may join in with singing and should follow performing arts guidance. This means that audience or congregation members should follow social distancing of 2m and event organisers should ensure this is maintained. Attendees should remain seated where possible. The maximum number of people present should take into account the area of the outdoor space and the requirement to maintain 2m social distancing at all times.

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