GNF Members Update 15 May - Issue 33

Dear All,
Today's update includes the Government's announcement of five new Ministerial Taskforces to help deliver their roadmap for recovery. They have also now published guidance for local authorities to distribute the £617m Discretionary Fund. Also included today is an interesting document from the EU on their plans for the progressive reopening of tourism and hospitality and the protocols that go with it. No doubt the UK Government will pay significant attention to this in delivering their plans for reopening tourism!

Five New Ministerial Taskforces Announced
The aim of Stage 3 of the Government's roadmap to recovery is to open as many remaining businesses as possible, particularly in the hospitality sector. To enable these businesses to open safely, the taskforces will work closely with stakeholders to ensure businesses are Covid-19 Secure. There are three that relate to the visitor economy:
  • Recreation and Leisure, including tourism, culture and heritage, entertainment and sport (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
  • Pubs and Restaurants (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy)
  • Non-essential Retail (including salons) (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy)

EU Guidance for Reopening Tourism
On 13 May the EU published its Guidance for the staged resumption of tourism. Many EU Member States are already starting to lift restrictions and starting to open up borders to assist in this process. Because the document is aimed at the tourism and hospitality sector, it may give us all some insight that will help us prepare for when the UK Government does likewise.

Guidance on Spending Time Outdoors
After the concern and confusion on its relaxation rules, the Government has produced new guidance on this, the key aspects of which are that people CAN, subject to social distancing rules:
  • Go to parks and beaches to sunbathe, have a picnic and go fishing
  • Go to sports courts, including tennis and basketball courts as well as golf courses
  • See one person from another household, as long as they follow social distance guidance
However, they CANNOT:
  • Go on holiday
  • Visit and stay overnight at a holiday home or second home
  • Visit the homes of friends and family, unless it’s to help a vulnerable person, for medical reasons, or to take a child to another household with whom parental responsibilities are shared

£617m Discretionary Fund Guidance
Under the scheme, NFDC will be able to provide grants to the value of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000 to businesses – the amount of the payment being at NFDC's discretion.

The grants are aimed at supporting:
  • Small and micro businesses
  • Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis
  • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

Local authorities will prioritise the following types of business:
  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have
  • their own business rates assessment
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Once the application process is in place, NFDC will communicate details via their newsletter (sign up Business eNewsletter) and their Twitter feed at  @NFDCBizUpdates

Self-Employment Claim Open
The claim system is now open and new guidance has been produced on how to file a claim and accepted claims should be paid within six working days of the claim being logged.
Tourism Society Call for Leadership and Co-ordination
The Tourism Society has published a paper to improve the leadership and coordination of tourism in England through and beyond Covid-19. GNF has already responded by writing a letter of support.
The key action points for Government are to:
  • Reinforce and reorientate the leadership role of VisitEngland
  • Strengthen the resilience and capacity of DMOs
  • Establish a functioning network for coordination
  • Develop a clear tourism strategy for England
  • Review and consolidate delivery structures

Guidance on Holiday Pay and Entitlement
BEIS has produced new guidance on how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance. The Guidance is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who:
  • continue to work
  • have been placed on furlough as part of the Job Retention Scheme

Reallocating Road Space in Response to COVID-19 links
Apologies, the links were not working in our report on this article in Issue 31. Please see below.

Upcoming GNF Virtual Sector Group Meetings
The following Sector Group Zoom meetings have been scheduled - invitations will be sent to each group with agenda and joining instructions:
Holiday Parks & Camp Sites -  Tuesday 19 May at 11am
Hotels Pubs Inns & Restaurants -  Wednesday 20 May at 11am
Food & Drink -  Wednesday 27 May at 11am
Attractions - Tuesday 9 June at 11am
Bed & Breakfast - Wednesday 10 June at 11am
Self-Catering - Thursday 11 June at 11am

In closing, just to let you all know that we are planning to launch our Recovery Plan during English Tourism Week (25 May-31 May) and have an article on the plan appearing in next week's Lymington Times to kick the whole process off.

May the sun continue to shine as we go forward!

Very best wishes,