New Coronvarius Measures: What do They Mean for Heritage?
The Chancellor’s new Winter Economy Plan
Autumn 2020 Budget
On Wednesday, the Government announced that the 2020 Budget has been cancelled to allow the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to focus on his winter economic plans to replace the furlough scheme.
Job Retention Scheme & New Job Support Scheme
From 1 October, HMRC will pay 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work. At that point, organisations will need to continue to pay furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Employers will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant themselves. Read more here. You can find a fact sheet here.
The Chancellor has also announced that the reduction in VAT to 5% for accommodation, hospitality and attractions is being extended to the end of the financial year. Businesses who deferred their VAT will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. Instead, they will have the option of splitting it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months under the New Payment Scheme.
More information on the Chancellor’s new Winter Economic Plan can be found here
COVID-19 & Government Updates
PM’s Recent Statement
The PM has announced the following rules from today in England:
- The planned reopening of conferences, exhibitions and events on 1st Oct has been suspended.
- Pubs, restaurants and bars will have to close at 10pm (except for takeaways).
- A “table-only” service will be allowed at pubs, restaurants and bars.
- Please note, DCMS have informed us that table service rules should not be applicable to heritage site cafes. This is because operations where alcohol is a minor and ancillary feature of the business will be exempt from the requirement. However, all hospitality premises that serve food and drink to be consumed indoors on their premises must ensure that customers are seated when eating and drinking. We expect further details confirming this in the regulations.
- Staff in retail and indoor hospitality will have to wear masks.
- Guidance has been issued clarifying that the mandatory wearing of face coverings for tourism and hospitality workers is only if they are working in areas that are open to the public and where they come or are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public. So kitchen staff and back office staff do not have to wear masks unless they move into the public areas of the business.
- The Covid-secure workplace guidance will become a legal obligation.
- The number of people able to attend a wedding in England is being reduced to 15 from the previous 30.
- The £10,000 fines imposed on those who don’t quarantine will now be applied to businesses and the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking Rule of Six will double to £200.
- Exemptions to the “Rule of Six” will be reduced. You can find the new exemption list here.
- People have been asked to work from home if they can.
It has also been confirmed that meetings can still be held with up to 30 attendees and that guides can still lead groups of up to 30 people provided that each individual party within the group complies with the Rule of Six.
You can also find a comprehensive FAQ on what can and can’t be done in accordance with the changes in guidance at ‘Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do’.
NHS COVID-19 App Launches
Thursday marked the national launch of the NHS Covid-19 app across England and Wales. The Government will be supporting businesses and venues to display the QR codes and meet their obligations, which can be downloaded via a website to display as posters in premises.
Please see the latest guidance for how to support NHS Test and Trace, including the use of official NHS QR code posters: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace.
These requirements are not applicable to outdoor, unstaffed and unticketed heritage sites, or to archaeological and historic sites which are not open to the public.