25/01/2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin 25 January 2021

Please see the most recent COVID-19 bulletin below.

CONTENTS

All UK travel corridors temporarily suspended to protect against new international variants
From Monday 18 January at 4am, all travel corridors with the UK were suspended – meaning that all international arrivals who have departed from or transited through any country outside the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days will be required to both take a pre-departure test, and self-isolate immediately for 10 days on arrival. This includes British and Irish nationals. The new measures will be reviewed on Monday 15 February 2021.

A number of exemptions to the travel corridor policy - including the need to travel for business – have been suspended, unless they are vital to maintaining the flow of critical goods, protecting essential services, protecting national security or facilitating government work. See the full list of exemptions.

The Test to Release scheme will remain in place, giving passengers the option to shorten the mandatory self-isolation period to as little as 5 days.

Jobs that qualify for exemptions from self-isolation, passenger locator form or COVID testing requirements
Guidance has been updated provide information on eight categories of jobs removed from exemptions. These exemptions are not valid for countries from where travel to the UK is currently banned.

Hauliers travelling from Portugal are not covered by the travel ban and are permitted to travel to the UK.

Updated Guidance
Coronavirus tests - taxable expenses and benefits: The tests provided by government as part of national testing scheme, are not treated as a benefit in kind for tax purposes. If you’re providing antigen testing kits to your employees, outside of the government’s national testing scheme, either directly or by purchasing tests that are carried out by a third party, no Income Tax or Class 1A National Insurance contributions will be due. Similarly, employers and their employees will not be liable to any Income Tax or National Insurance contributions, where an employee receives money from their employer for obtaining a test. For more information, click here.

Pay VAT deferred due to coronavirus: a new section has been added on ‘Correcting errors on your VAT returns relating to the VAT payments deferral scheme’. Including information on how to defer any extra payments resulting error corrections and HMRC VAT assessments. For more information, click here.

Support for zoos and aquariums: The application for animal welfare grant of up to £730,000 for zoo or aquarium affected by coronavirus deadline has been extended to 26 February 2021. For more information, click here.

Advice for seasonal agricultural workers coming to England to pick fruit and vegetables on farms, and their employers. Guidance has been updated with new rules on what you need to do before travelling to the UK.

Business Support Helpline
There are new rules for businesses doing business with the EU from 1 January, and you need to take action now. To help you, a helpline has been set up. For English businesses, the Business Support Helpline can help you identify the actions you need to take. Similar helplines are available for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

For more information for:

businesses in England, call 0800 998 1098

businesses in Scotland, call 0300 303 0660

businesses in Wales, call 0300 060 3000

businesses in Northern Ireland, call 0800 181 4422

For more information, including opening hours, click here.

Guidance for Hauliers
COVID testing requirements for drivers and crew of HGVs, and drivers of LGVs and vans: Please check before you travel to ensure you have taken necessary action. From 00.01 Tuesday 19 January, all hauliers travelling from the UK to the Netherlands, by ferry, will be required to show evidence of a negative lateral flow test obtained within 24 hours of boarding a service departing for a Dutch port. A free test can be obtained at one of our 35 Information & Advice sites across the country, where support on getting border ready is available. Hauliers can also get an authorised negative COVID test from a private testing facility and firms may have their own arrangements. In addition, interim testing facilities have been set up at Hull Port and Humberside Airport to provide additional services for hauliers bound for Hull, Immingham and Killingholme ports. To avoid delays we encourage, drivers and crew of HGVs, and drivers of LGVs and vans to get tested before they arrive at their port of departure.

UPDATE: Haulier advice site locations: Guidance has been updated to reflect Orwell Crossing Truck Stop hours now begin at 4am. To avoid delays, hauliers are to get tested at an “Advice site” before entering Kent. For more information on haulier sites opening hours, check here.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19): Drivers and crew of HGVs, LGVs, coaches and vans need a negative COVID-19 test result, which they need for travel to France,Denmark and the Netherlands. Other requirements may also apply, so check the links to keep up to date.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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