Coronavirus support: industry update #2

We know this is a difficult and challenging time for our members and stakeholders and our sole aim at this point is to offer help and support.

The information in this update builds on last week’s message and is intended to  answer to some FAQs and signpost you to the latest official advice from relevant authoritative bodies.

Tourism Business Impact Survey

In case you missed it, Marketing Manchester sent out a survey last week to better understand how coronavirus is affecting your business. Thank you to those of you who completed it, the full results will be shared shortly but are already being used to shape our reports into various bodies including the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, VisitBritain and Government.

Marketing Manchester also coordinates a Greater Manchester tourism and hospitality industry emergency response group to collate business insight, which is also helping us build the right resources to support you that we are uploading to the Marketing Manchester website.

We will shortly be starting a fortnightly ’Business Barometer’ to provide further insights. If you wish to be part of this, please email Jo.Cuff@marketingmanchester.com.

Government Financial Support

We know from our survey results that the biggest concern for most of our members and stakeholders is financial uncertainty. We are here to support you and will keep you as informed as possible with industry-specific updates in this fast-moving situation.

On Tuesday the Chancellor outlined the support measures being brought forward by the Government. Our colleagues at VisitBritain have summarised the key findings relevant for the tourism and hospitality industry as follows:

  • All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will receive a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months;
  • Increase in grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000;
  • Further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000;
  • Confirmation that government advice to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres etc. is sufficient for businesses to claim on their insurance where they have appropriate business interruption cover for pandemics in place;
  • Relaxation in planning regulations to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application;
  • Support for liquidity amongst large firms, with a major new scheme being launched by the Bank of England to help them bridge COVID-19 disruption to their cash flows through loans;
  • Increasing the amount businesses can borrow through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £1.2 million to £5 million and ensuring businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as Government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
  • The Bank of England scheme and business interruption loan scheme will be available from the beginning of next week.

Full details can be found on the UK Government Website.

Business support and webinars

We are working with our colleagues in The Growth Company to provide online business support which can be applied to any organisation within the tourism and hospitality industry, including resources and guidance on the following subjects:

  • Supporting your Employees;
  • Managing your Suppliers;
  • Customer Service;
  • Contingency Planning;
  • Cashflow Management;
  • and 10 Steps to Take Now

A series of coronavirus business support webinars are also available.

In light of the Government’s update on Wednesday, we would particularly like to highlight tomorrow’s Legal and Insurance implications webinar 12:30-13:15 and would encourage you to sign up.

We will also be running a special webinar dedicated to the Tourism and Hospitality Sector from 14:30-15:15 on Monday 23 March. This session will include a panel of tourism experts: including Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality; Alison Loveday, Partner at Kennedys law firm; and Paul Clark, UK Business Mentoring at Greater Manchester Federation of Small Businesses. The webinar will explore the following topics:

  • How can businesses support and offer guidance to staff with confirmed or suspected COVID-19? Issues around laying staff off, unpaid leave, self-isolation etc.
  • Implications for tourism businesses if someone (staff or guest) in a front of house service area e.g. bars, restaurants, housekeeping, is diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Basic Housekeeping – shortage of supplies and advice on sanitising and cleaning.
  • Cashflow and Business Continuity – what help is available from Government and Banks?
  • What help is available from VisitBritain and Marketing Manchester/The Growth Company.

We would implore as many of our members and stakeholders to join this session and to please pass the message on to other colleagues, suppliers or other members of the Greater Manchester tourism and hospitality industry that you think may find the session useful. Please sign up here.

We would also like to highlight relevant webinars offered by other organisations:

Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub

To make sure that people are given the most up to date information, we have set up the Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub to signpost and connect the sector to advice, support and guidance across a variety of areas.

The Hub will connect businesses to best practice and enable operators to share experiences – from finance to HR and possible redeployment of staff to legal advice.

We are in open dialogue with many businesses within the tourism and hospitality industry and have begun to collate a series of FAQs that will be added to the Marketing Manchester website. Meanwhile, if you have any specific questions or would like to talk to someone, we have set up an email address and number to contact us on: supporthub@marketingmanchester.com

Recovery marketing campaign

Whilst providing ongoing business support, we want to assure you that in the background we are also working on recovery marketing planning. This is a constantly changing situation and we need to time our campaign sensitively; however, we want to be able to move fast to put Greater Manchester top of mind when the time comes. We are also looking at innovative ways to promote ongoing awareness of the destination during periods of social distancing.

An email to our members will follow shortly asking for input and ideas across a series of themes. Please look out for this and consider how you can meaningfully include your business.

Information for visitors

A section has been added to VisitManchester.com with specific advice for visitors, updated daily with recent information. Please direct visitor enquiries here.

Other useful resources

As the situation evolves, we recommend all Marketing Manchester members and stakeholders stay informed by reading the latest health information from the above resources.