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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Supports and Guidance for Businesses

Many of our members are seeking information about supports and guidance available relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will do our best to keep this page updated with the key information and signposting that will be of use to our members.

Details of £40m Coronavirus (COVID-19): Restrictions Fund Announced, 12 Oct 2020

If your business has been directly impacted by the restrictions implemented on 9th October, you may be eligible for new supports which have been announced.

A COVID-19 Restrictions Fund will be restricted to hospitality and other businesses required to close by the brake restrictions regulations. The support funds will be administered by Local Authorities and provided as one-off grants. It operates as a two-tiered scheme, with a smaller grant of £2,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of under £51,000 and a larger grant of £3,000 for those businesses with a RV over £51,000.

At the same time, Local Authorities will invite applications for a discretionary business hardship fund with payments of up to £1,500 – to support some businesses that remain open but are directly impacted by the restrictions, including those in the direct supply chains of firms that must close.

Further details are available here.

First Minister announces new restrictions to indoor hospitality sector, 7th Oct 2020

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, today announced new measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus and try to get the R number below one. These measures will come into force from Friday 9th October at 6pm and will remain in place for 16 days to Sunday 25th October. Outside of the five health boards listed below, pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés will be able to operate indoors on the following very restricted basis only:

Bars, pubs, restaurants and cafés can continue to serve alcohol outdoors up to the existing curfew time of 10pm and subject to the 6/2 rule on group size. There will be an exemption to these rules in all parts of Scotland for celebrations associated with specific life events such as weddings that are already booked or funerals. The current rules for those will continue to apply.

First Minister announces licensed premises to close for 2 weeks across central belt

In the five health board areas of greatest concern, Ayrshire and Arran, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Lothian and Forth Valley, all licensed premises, with the exception of hotels for residents, must close indoors and outdoors from Friday 9th October at 6pm until Sunday 25th October. Takeaway service will still be permitted. Cafés which don’t have an alcohol licence will be able to remain open till 6pm to support social isolation. People in those five areas are being asked not to travel outside of the area they live if they don’t need to, but the First Minister did say she was not asking people to cancel half-term holidays they have already booked.

The First Minister also announced that the Scottish government would make an additional £40m available immediately to support businesses that will be affected by these measures over the next two weeks. To watch the First Minister’s entire statement please click on this link.

Chancellor announces Job Support Scheme to replace Furlough Scheme, 24th Sept 2020

As part of his ‘winter economy plan’ Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, today announced that the furlough scheme which is ending on 31st October will be replaced by a new Job Support Scheme. The new scheme will see workers get three quarters of their normal salaries for six months, but a greater contribution will be required of employers. The scheme will apply to employees working fewer than normal hours due to reduced demand, but at least a third of their usual hours. Employers will pay staff for the hours worked and for the hours not worked, the Government and the employer will each cover one third of the lost pay. The grant will be capped at £697.92 per month.

All small and medium businesses will be eligible and larger firms whose turnover has fallen during the crisis will also be eligible. The scheme will run for 6 months from November 2020.

Self Employment Income Support Scheme extended, 24th Sept 2020

The government is also extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme. An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus. The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. This is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875. An additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April 2021.

Extension to temporary VAT cut for tourism and hospitality, 24th Sept 2020

As part of his Winter Economy Package, the government also announced it will extend the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.

Extension to Business Loan Scheme to Ease Repayments, 24th Sept 2020

A new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system will provide flexibility for firms repaying a Bounce Back Loan. This includes extending the length of the loan from six years to ten, which will cut monthly repayments by nearly half.

First Minister announces 10pm Curfew for Pubs, Bars and Restaurants, 22nd Sept 2020

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, today announced that from Friday 25th September, pubs, bars and restaurants in Scotland will be required to close by 10pm in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

The First Minister said local authorities have been asked to step up inspections in hospitality businesses to ensure the correct measures are in place to protect customers and staff.

Ms Sturgeon also announced a ban on indoor social visits to other households. This restriction does not extend to outdoor or public settings. The rule in those contexts remains that groups of up to 6 from no more than 2 households can meet socially, children under 12 from within those 2 households are not counted in the limit of 6.
View the full statement here

Number of People Allowed to Meet Cut to Six from Two Households, 10th Sept 2020

The number of people allowed to meet in Scotland has been reduced to a maximum of 6 people from 2 households, although children under 12 do not count towards the limit.

There will be “limited exceptions” for organised sports, places of worship and wedding and funeral services – which will be capped at 20 guests.

This limit also applies to hospitality settings, however, up to 20 people can attend ceremonies for funerals, weddings and civil partnerships (this remains unchanged) and from Monday the limit of 20 will apply also to wakes and receptions, as long as they are in “regulated venues” where strict guidance is in place.

Theatres, music venues and some play/sport facilities will not reopen, 10th Sept 2020

The rise in cases in recent weeks means that theatres, live music venues, indoor soft play facilities and indoor contact sports for people aged over 12 will not open on Monday as had previously been hoped.

Although 2 pilot events will go ahead at the weekend, sports stadia and other venues will not reopen over the next three weeks.

Face Coverings to become mandatory in hospitality setting, 10th Sept 2020

Two additional measures are being introduced to reduce the risk of transmission in the hospitality sector.

First, it will be mandatory for customers in hospitality premises to wear face coverings whenever they are moving around and not eating or drinking e.g. when entering and going to a table or going to the bathroom.

Second, subject to some exemptions, it will also be mandatory (as opposed to the current guidance) for staff working in hospitality premises to also wear face coverings.

Travel Restrictions have now been lifted for Dumfries and Galloway 7th July 2020

Local restrictions in Dumfries and Galloway have been lifted following a cluster of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases last week in the Annan and Gretna areas.

The outbreak is now contained so travel is no longer restricted to five miles and care home visiting is now permitted.

See full Government Statement here

Localised Outbreak in Dumfries and Galloway sees restrictions extended – 2nd July 2020 (see update above)

A cluster of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has been found in the Annan and Gretna areas of Dumfries and Galloway, so the restrictions to the distance people can travel for leisure purposes are to remain in place for some localities.   People in Scotland living in the postcode areas of DG16 (Gretna), DG12 (Annan), DG1 and DG2 (Dumfries), DG11 (Lockerbie), DG13 (Langholm) and DG14 (Canonbie) are being asked to travel no more than 5 miles while efforts to manage the outbreak continue. This advice does not apply to essential travel.

Holidaymakers from other areas who have booked self-catering accommodation in these postcodes are still able to take up their reservations but must adhere to these travel restrictions once they arrive.

Please see full statement here

Phase 2 Updates – 2nd July 2020

Outside of those postcodes listed above where travel restrictions remain, the five mile limit for leisure travel will be lifted for the rest of the country from tomorrow (Friday, 3 July) restrictions on self-catering, self-contained accommodation. The First Minister also confirmed that outdoor hospitality will be able to start trading from Monday, 6 July, in line with indicative dates previously set out.

2 Metre Rule Advice – 2nd July 2020

The First Minister also announced the outcome of a review of the evidence on the 2 metre social distancing rule. Advice from the COVID-19 Advisory Group makes clear that the fundamental science around distance and transmission remains unchanged and that risk increases with proximity to an infected individual. As such, the Scottish Government will retain 2 metres as the default physical distancing requirement for Phase 3 but introduce exceptions to this requirement if practicable mitigating measures can be implemented. Settings and sectors considered appropriate for exceptions, pending agreed mitigations, are: public transport; outdoor hospitality; indoor hospitality; and retail. There will be no exemptions prior to the move to Phase 3.

Face Coverings

Following the successful introduction of mandatory face coverings on public transport, the measure will be extended to include retail settings from Friday, 10 July, in line with expected changes to other lockdown measures on that date.

Good to Go Scheme

“We’re Good To Go” is the official UK mark to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.

Apply now to confirm your business has taken the necessary measures and is operating in line with the Government guidelines and Public Health guidance (relating to Scottish businesses) clearly set out in your COVID-19 Risk Assessment

Upon successful completion of the application, you will be sent a secure link to download your certificate, mark and a toolkit with practical steps for telling your customers that your business is Good to Go.

Apply Now

New Guidelines Published for Tourism and Hospitality Sector in Scotland

New guidelines for the Tourism and Hospitality Sector were published and came into effect yesterday 18th June 2020 and will be reviewed on a 3 weekly basis. They include procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist. The guidance is designed for use by the entire sector including:

To see the full set of guidelines click here

Move to Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Routemap 18th June

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, today confirmed that we are moving into Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Routemap. Phase 2 will be broken into stages. People will still be asked, as far as possible, to stay within, or close to, their local area. The government’s ambition is to lift this restriction in Phase 3 and in good time for the resumption of tourism on 15th July. For the purposes of recreation, people are asked not to travel more than approx. 5 miles from their home.

Full details of all of the changes to Phase 2 and key dates can be found here

Extension to Deferral of Membership Fee 20th June

On 20th March in recognition of the difficulties being faced by our members, we offered our members 3 free months of membership by deferring all renewal dates by 3 months. We are now extending that deferral by a further 3 months. This means that aside from new memberships, we will not be issuing any membership invoices before 20th September 2020.

South of Scotland Destination Alliance Covid-19 Business June Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who completed the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) survey earlier this month. 305 businesses responded, providing invaluable input as the SSDA and MBTAG plan activity for the coming weeks and months.

Read the Key Findings Here

Bed & Breakfast Business Hardship Fund

The Bed & Breakfast Hardship Fund is now open for applications. The purpose of this fund is to provide hardship relief for Bed & Breakfast and other small serviced accommodation businesses who have not been able to access support through other schemes as a result of banking status. Businesses applying to this Fund will operate with a personal bank account demonstrating business revenue and expenditure (rather than a business bank account).

Update 25th June: To anyone who has been refused access to this grant on the basis that they have already received SEISS support, we followed up on behalf of members hitting that issue and the Government have offered clarification that receipt of SEISS does not preclude you from eligibility for this fund, so if your council have not been back in touch, please do reach out to them again.

For further information on how to apply visit your local authority website.

Dumfries and Galloway businesses visit

East Ayrshire businesses visit

South Ayrshire businesses visit

Scottish Coronavirus Routemap

On 21st May, Scottish First Minister, Nicola announced a Routemap to take Scotland through and out of the Covid-19 crisis. It provides information about how and when lockdown restrictions will be eased while continuing to suppress the virus. On 28th May we moved into Phase 1 of the routemap.

To download the entire framework document click here. (NB changes have since been made to Phase 2 of this document and can be seen at this link)

Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group COVID-19 National Action Plan 22 May 2020

The Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) has published a plan to support Scotland’s Tourism Industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The group consists of the Scottish Tourism Alliance; VisitScotland; COSLA; the three Enterprise Agencies – Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Skills Development Scotland and and the Scottish Government.

View the Four Key Phases of the Plan

Important Links

Dumfries and Galloway Business Support Information

East Ayrshire Business Support Information

South Ayrshire Business Support Information

Visit Scotland Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Information

Scottish Governement Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Supports and Guidance

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