Here is the latest news regarding updated government guidance, new roadmap regulations, The Shopkeepers Campaign and our second free social media workshop.
Updated Government Guidance
The Government has updated its guidance for businesses regarding the changes which will take place from 29 March (part two of Step 1 of the Roadmap out of lockdown) and financial support as follows:
Reopening businesses and venues in England – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reopening-businesses-and-venues-in-england
From 29 March
- At this stage, some further settings will be permitted to open. This will include outdoor sports facilities such as:
- swimming pools
- sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts)
- golf courses, including mini golf
- water sports venues
- climbing walls
- driving and shooting ranges
- riding arenas at riding centres
- archery venues
- People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.
- At this step, formally organised outdoor sport will also return – this can include a larger number of participants, provided that appropriate steps are taken to make it COVID-Secure in line with the law. Indoor facilities, such as changing rooms, should not be used at this time, although toilet facilities can be accessed. At this stage, these gatherings must only include participants – not spectators.
- Businesses eligible to host childcare and supervised activities for children will now be able to host all outdoor children’s activities, and outdoor parent-and child groups for up to 15 people (not counting those aged under five).
- From April the Local Restrictions Support grants will be replaced with the Restart Grants. These grants will make available up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality and other sectors that are opening later.
- Local Authorities in England are also receiving a further £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, in addition to £1.6 billion already allocated, through the Additional Restrictions Grant. This funding is for additional business support to complement the Local Restrictions Support Grant and Restart Grant schemes for affected businesses. Local authorities have significant discretion as to how they use this funding to support businesses.
Closing Certain Businesses And Venues in England –https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england
In response to questions I’ve received recently, I just wanted to confirm that:
As well as specific exemptions as set out in their relevant section, any closed premises can open for the purposes of:
- Enabling access by the site owners or managers, staff or people authorised by them (including volunteers) for maintenance where this is reasonably necessary. This may include exhibit maintenance, animal or plant feeding, or repairs. Other work to ensure readiness to open, such as receiving deliveries of supplies, may also go ahead
- Providing essential voluntary or public services (including the provision of food banks or other support to the homeless or vulnerable, hosting blood donation sessions, or support in an emergency)
- Making a film, television programme, audio programme or audio-visual advertisement
- Voting or related activities (except for in closed shops)
Support groups cannot meet in businesses that are closed to the public unless a specific exemption is listed in the guidance.
- In England, the government has provided a 100 per cent business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. This 100 per cent holiday has been extended to June 2021, after which businesses will receive 66% relief, up to a cap, for the following nine months. Nurseries in England will also receive this relief.
New ‘roadmap regulations’ set out
- The government has set out regulations that will pave the way to the easing of all restrictions from 21 June. A ‘One-year review’ of the Coronavirus Act proposes 15 regulations to expire or be suspended from the Easter recess of Parliament, and confirms that the measures to continue are essential and proportionate to dealing with the pandemic. The government has now set out regulations which bring into law the Roadmap out of lockdown and pave the way to the easing of all restrictions from 21 June at the earliest.
- The regulations laid yesterday will be voted on by Parliament this Thursday, and if approved, will replace the ‘all tiers’ regulations which were made to enact the tier system at the end of last year.
- While the vote will provide the legal basis for the Coronavirus Act to remain in place for a further 6 months, the entire Act and all its provisions are reviewed in a report laid before Parliament every 2 months, and the roadmap regulations must also undergo statutory review every 35 days.
- More details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/legal-footing-for-national-unlocking-set-out-ahead-of-vote
The Shopkeepers Campaign
- You may be aware of The Shopkeepers Campaign – started by Revo, a membership organisation supporting the people and businesses of retail property and placemaking – calling for Business Rates reform to support local shops and communities. You can find a link to the campaign here: https://savelocalshops.eaction.online/savelocalshops if you wish to get involved.
Free Social Media Workshop – Intermediate Level
- Just a reminder that the second free Social Media Workshop, this one for intermediate level, takes place tomorrow, 24th March at 2pm and delivered by Lisa Woodhouse of Viva PR, Blackburn BID’s Digital Marketing & PR provider. You can register for a place here: http://www.blackburnbid.co.uk/social_media_workshopsto give us a little information about you and to receive your link to the session.