April Lock Down News

Updated Guidance from Tourism Alliance

Department for Digital Culture Media & Sport sent the attached update to their Q&As regarding Step 2 reopening on Monday, which provides more detail on the opening of self-catering businesses, and camping and caravanning sites.

There are two updates of particular note – on Wedding Show Rounds and Coach Trips

Wedding Show Rounds

While business show rounds were already allowed for Step 2, the guidance has now been changed to allow wedding show rounds. However, this only applies to businesses that have some ability to open already so a wedding show round is allowed at an accommodation business but not at an attraction or historic house – which makes little sense in terms of risk.

Wedding show-rounds, viewings, and site visits can only take place at venues when the venue is permitted to open. This means whether an in-person viewing can take place will depend on the current step of the roadmap, and the venues open at that time. For example, in-person viewings at indoor visitor attractions at heritage sites (such as stately or historic homes and castles) can only take place from Step 3 (no earlier than 17 May) when these venues are permitted to reopen. Viewings at accommodation sites can take place at Step 2. People must not visit a closed venue for the purposes of a wedding viewing. Virtual tours or other arrangements should be considered until venues reopen.

Coach Trips

One other change that makes no sense is the guidance for coach operators. Up until last night, the guidance was:

Private hire coach tours can take place for a private group of single households (or support/childcare) bubbles.

This is the guidance that has always applied to coach operators, even during lockdown periods, and allows multiple single households on a coach provided that social distancing is maintained between each household.

This has now been changed to:

Private hire coach tours are only permitted for a private group of a single household/support bubble. The coach driver and tour guide do not count towards the single household/support bubble rule.

Private hire coaches must not accommodate groups containing multiple households (excluding support bubbles) traveling together to the same destination or making the same journey, e.g. for the purposes of a leisure tour, as this is more akin to ‘indoor gathering’ than it is to ‘public transport’ and will therefore not be permitted until Step 3.

This means that a coach is only able to carry one household at a time, which is obviously nonsensical. What also doesn’t make sense is that while every other business is having the rules relaxed, coach operators are having their restrictions increased. This is going to cause real problems on Monday as businesses have been operating on the guidance that applied until last night and taken bookings for trips to outdoor attractions which open on Monday. As well as all the problems that will cause, one of the main groups that this will impact are the elderly who are a key market for coach operators.

In addition to the New Q&A, the Primary Guidance for Visitor Economy Businesses and Hotels and Other Guest Accommodation has also been updated with more detail on the rules and restrictions that apply to tourism and accommodation businesses during Step 2.

Here’s the new Visitor Economy Guidance

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy

And here’s the new Accommodation guidance

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/hotels-and-other-guest-accommodation

Tourist Information Q&A’s

Outdoor pubs, shops, gyms, and hairdressers to reopen.

Outdoor hospitality will be among those reopening in England next week after the Prime Minister confirmed the roadmapis on track and planned easements can go ahead.Significant parts of the indoor economy and further outdoor settings will reopen from 12 April, after data confirmed the government’s “four tests” for easing Covid restrictions had been met.However he continued to urge caution, with no changes to social contact rules and many restrictions still in place. Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to 6 people or 2 households, and you must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with or have not formed a support bubble with.

Confirmation Step 2 of the roadmap would proceed came after the measures were agreed at a “Covid O” meeting and discussed on a Cabinet call earlier today (Monday).

Before proceeding to this step, the government studied the latest data to assess the impact of the first step, which began when schools reopened on 8 March.

The assessment was based on four tests:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  • Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

As set out in the roadmap, around four weeks is required to see the impact in the data of the previous step.

The government also committed to provide a further week’s notice to businesses, provided through the update from the Prime Minister today.

From Monday 12 April additional premises will be able to reopen – with the rules on social contact applying. Indoor settings must only be visited alone or with household groups, with outdoor settings limited to either six people or two households.

This includes non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons; and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3).

Overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted and self-contained accommodation can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.

Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will also reopen.

The majority of outdoor settings and attractions can also reopen, including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances events.

Hospitality venues will be able to open for outdoor service, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew. The requirement to eat and drink while seated will remain.

People should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays are still illegal.

The number of care home visitors will also increase to two per resident, and all children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance.

Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors.

Funerals can continue with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, outdoor receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).

The government is also publishing today an update on the 4 reviews established in the roadmap to determine what measures may be necessary from summer onwards.

A Covid-status certification system will be developed over the coming months which could allow higher-risk settings to be opened up more safely and with more participants. Over the coming months, a system will be developed which will take into account three factors: vaccination, a recent negative test, or natural immunity (determined on the basis of a positive test taken in the previous six months).

Events pilots will take place from mid-April to trial the system. All pilots are checking Covid status, initially this will be through testing alone but in later pilots vaccination and acquired immunity are expected to be alternative ways to demonstrate status.