Industry Update: 17 September 2020

Latest guidance on local restrictions

There are still four different levels of restrictions in place across Greater Manchester and whilst the situation can change at any point, we ask that you familiarise yourself with the latest information so that you can relay this to contacts or customers if asked:

  • Local restrictions as per 31 July. This currently applies to Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside and Trafford and requires that different households in these boroughs should not mix indoors, including at venues such as museums and galleries, hotels, pubs, bars and restaurants.
  • Released from local restrictions. This currently applies to Stockport and Wigan only, bringing them in line with rules that apply across the rest of England. As per the UK Government’s new ‘Rule of Six’ from Monday 14 September gatherings of more than six have now been banned across England.
  • Stricter local restrictions: Oldham. This only applies to Oldham and requires residents not to meet anyone outside of their own household in any place, including parks, outdoor bars or restaurants and to avoid using public transport unless for school or work. Furthermore, visitors are actively discouraged from travelling to the area.
  • Stricter local restrictions: Bolton. This only applies to Bolton and includes all of the above restrictions for Oldham; however additional restrictions are also now in place for food and drink venues (restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs) which have been restricted to takeaway only and tighter restrictions on operating hours. There is now a ban on mixing in public outdoor settings which is now enforceable by law.

It is important to remember that face coverings should now be used at a range of tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses and attractions across England – a full list can be found on the UK Government website – and that we should all continue to practice social distancing and frequent handwashing to reduce the rate of infection increasing further.

As per the Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 September the following additional guidance will be in place:

  • Wednesday 23 September
    • office workers who are able to work from home should do so and the requirement for customers to wear face coverings will be extended to all users of taxis and private hire vehicles.
  • Thursday 24 September:
    • pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways;
    • hospitality venues must close between 22:00 and 05:00 (which means closing, not last orders). The same will apply to takeaways, although deliveries can continue;
    • the requirement to wear face coverings will be extended to include staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink; and
    • Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations in retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors.
  • Monday 28 September:
    • A maximum of 15 people may attend weddings, while 30 may attend funerals. Organisers must follow Covid-19 Secure guidance and all legal requirements in order to ensure they are protecting their staff and customers.
    • Business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will not be reopened from 1 October.
  • 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.

Manchester business leaders say loss of VAT refunds for tourists damaging to Greater Manchester economy

Retail, leisure and tourism leaders from across Greater Manchester have expressed concern following the surprise decision from the Treasury to remove the option for international visitors to reclaim VAT on their spending.

The decision means the UK will now be the only country in Europe not to offer tax-free shopping to international visitors, which would put at risk £60 million of tax-free sales to Greater Manchester’s visitor economy, according to tax free shopping specialists, Global Blue and Planet.

To read the full story, please click here.

Is your business ready for Test and Trace?

From Friday 18 September tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses will be legally required to take contact details of a member from each customer party, retain these details for 21 days, and provide them to NHS Test & Trace without delay when required. This was previously optional for businesses but will become law on Friday.

Additionally, businesses need to keep a daily record of staff working on the premises. The UK Government will support local authorities to make further and faster use of their powers to close venues that are breaking the rules and pose a risk to public health. Fines will be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain COVID Secure.

This requirement will apply to businesses and other public settings where people meet socially including hospitality, close contact and leisure venues – full details can be found here.

Separately UK Government has urged businesses to prepare for the NHS COVID-19 App by ensuring they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in. The NHS COVID-19 app will be launched across England and Wales on Thursday 24 September and guidance for creating a QR Code and associated poster for operators can be found here.

Seven priority actions for businesses affected by Covid-19

Further to the Prime Minister’s statement last week outlining the new rule of six in England, the official Government guidance for working safely during coronavirus (Covid-19) has been updated. Additional specialised advice has also been updated, including the Visitor Economy guidance and guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.

The seven priority actions for businesses are:

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
  3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.
  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that your customers can follow. Enable people in the same party who do not live together to remain a safe distance apart.
  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
  6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law (see above story). Check Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for details.
  7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.

Covid-19 community resource hub

Manchester City Council have developed a resource hub of public safety information to support communities through Covid-19 which you may find useful regardless of which Greater Manchester borough your business is based in. These include posters, videos and social media assets to download in alternative formats and languages.

To access the resource hub, please click here.

Partner and industry news

Please email your news to FAO of Andy Parkinson and also add this email address to your media/press distribution lists.

Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis the Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub has been available to ensure that tourism and hospitality businesses are given the most up to date information including reopening standards and guidance. We have streamlined the Hub to give the most useful information; however, we will continue to deliver the service throughout the reopening of the visitor economy and anyone who needs specific and detailed support should contact for bespoke help and advice.

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