Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin 25 / 26 May 2020

Please find below the two most recent Businesses and Employers Bulletins from Government. These include:

  • The Government timeline for reopening retail businesses, with outdoor markets and car showrooms opening on the 1st of June and other retailers scheduled to reopen on the 15th.
  • The new quarantine measures for international visitors to the UK. These will apply from the 8th of June and will require nearly all visitors to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days. There are a number of exemptions including road haulage and freight workers and medical professionals arriving to assist with the Coronavirus crisis.


UK Government sets out a timeline for retail to reopen in June

The UK Government announced today, Monday 25 May 2020, a roadmap for reopening a broader range of shops starting from next month.  From 1 June 2020, it intends to allow outdoor markets to reopen, subject to all premises being made COVID-secure, as well as car showrooms, which often have significant outdoor space and where it is generally easier to apply social distancing.

From 15 June 2020, UK Government intends to allow all other retailers, ranging from shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.  You can read the full statement here.

Updated guidance for the retail sector has been published alongside this announcement, detailing the measures retailers should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards.  You can find the guidance here.

Free business webinar – find out how to make your retail workplace COVID-secure
Join a free webinar, hosted by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to find out more about how to make your retail workplace COVID-secure.

  • Thursday 28 May, 11am: Shops and branches – Guidance for people who run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Details of other free webinars, hosted by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, are available on how to make your workplace COVID-secure.  The webinars cover a range of different types of workplace settings which are allowed to open in England.

New public health measures for all UK arrivals at the UK border
New measures, at the UK border to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections have been announced by the Home Secretary on Friday 22 May.  You can view the full press notice here.  These measures are due to come into effect on 8 June 2020.  They include 14 days self-isolation for anyone entering the UK, bar a short list of exemptions  The full list is available on GOV.UK and include:

  • road haulage and freight workers, to ensure the supply of goods is not impacted;
  • medical professionals who are travelling to help with the fight against coronavirus;
  • Anyone moving from within the Common Travel Area, covering Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man;
  • Seasonal Agricultural Workers who will self-isolate on the property where they are working

The Home Office has been working closely with industry partners ahead of announcing these changes.  The changes will be subject to review every three weeks, to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary.

The measures outlined by the Home Secretary include:

  • Contact locator form – All arriving passengers will be required to fill this in to provide contact and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with, develops the disease.
  • Self-isolation - Passengers arriving in the UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and could be contacted regularly throughout this period to ensure compliance.
  • Enforcement - Anyone failing to comply with the mandatory conditions may face enforcement action.  A breach of self-isolation would be punishable with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England or potential prosecution and unlimited fine.  The level of fine could increase if the risk of infection from abroad increases.  The Devolved Administrations will set out their own enforcement approaches.

Spot checks - Border Force will undertake checks at the border and may refuse entry to any non-British citizen who refuses to comply with these regulations and is not resident in the UK. Failure to complete the form is also punishable by a £100 fixed penalty notice.  Public health authorities will conduct random checks in England to ensure compliance with self-isolation requirements.  Removal from the country would be considered as a last resort for foreign nationals who refuse to comply with these public health measures.

UK Government webinars
COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme: As part of UK Government’s commitment to supporting employers through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Chancellor has announced a Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate to support small and medium-sized employers with additional SSP costs due to COVID-19.  For more information, join the following live webinar. This webinar provides an overview of the scheme, including:

  • who can claim;
  • when to start paying SSP;
  • employees you can claim for;
  • making a claim;
  • keeping records, and more.

Join a free webinar, hosted by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to find out more about how to make your workplace COVID-secure. The webinars cover a range of different types of workplace settings which are allowed to be open in England.  You can also find the full written guidance for a range of different types of work and practical actions for businesses to take based on 5 main steps here.

New Updates and Guidance
Government to offer antibody tests to health and social care staff
All health and social care staff in England will be offered a test, to see if they have had coronavirus as part of a new national antibody testing programme.  The new antibody testing programme, will start next week.  Further information can be found here.

  • Updated advice has been published for Estate Agents; Developers and new build sales; Tradespeople; Conveyancers; New Build Home Warranty Assessments and claims against the warranty; Surveyors and EPC Assessors; Removals Firms; Letting Agents and Private Landlords and Social landlords, on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • Check which employees you can put on furlough and claim for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This page has been updated with information that clarifies that eligibility depends on employment on or after certain dates.
  • Updated: Find out how to calculate 80% of your employee’s wages, National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pension contributions if you have furloughed staff due to coronavirus (COVID-19).  The list explaining functions that can be tested on the calculator has been updated – the calculator can now be used to work out claims for employees who have received top ups or discretionary payments in the claim period. Page also updated with information that the amount claimed for NICs cannot be more than 13.8% of the grant claimed for employee’s wages.
  • Updated: Claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19).  This page has been updated to explain that employers will be asked to give the amounts separately for the NICs, pension and wages they are claiming for. Information added that employee authorised salary deductions can be made from grant payments.

Requests for Business Intelligence and Assistance

Offer coronavirus support
Tell us how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus by using our online service

Share the impact coronavirus is having on your organisation 
Let us know how the outbreak is impacting your business.  Please send your intelligence to intel@beis.gov.uk. Commercially sensitive information will be treated accordingly.  Please note that this inbox is only for receiving intelligence and does not provide business advice

Help us shine a light on the stories of key workers 
Tell us about key workers you know that are helping to keep the UK moving during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please fill in this online form for key workers in the following sectors: manufacturing, construction, consumer goods, scientists/researchers, servicing, postal workers, and  oil/gas/electricity/water/sewage/chemical workers.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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