Easing of COVID-19 restrictions

On 22nd February, the roadmap for exiting the most recent lockdown restrictions was announced.

Step 1: 8th March and 29th March
Step 2: 12th April
Step 3: 17th May

The following businesses reopened:

  • Indoor hospitality
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions
  • Organised indoor sport
  • All accommodation providers
  • All outdoor entertainment (including live performances)
  • Significant life events can have up to 30
  • Indoor events can have 1,000 guests or 50%
  • Outdoor seated events can have 10,000 guests or 25%
  • Outdoor non-seated events can have 4,000 guests or 50%
Step 4: 19th July

The following is permitted:

Social distancing

  • No limits on how many people can meet
  • 1m-plus rule removed (except in some places like hospitals, or before passport control when entering the country)
  • Face coverings no longer required by law

Events and gatherings

  • Nightclubs can open an a return to full capacity for theatre and cinema audiences
  • Pubs and restaurants no longer table service only
  • No limits on guests at weddings and funerals
  • No limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events
  • No restrictions on communal worship

Travel

  • Guidance recommending against travel to amber countries removed
  • Adults fully vaccinated in the UK will no longer have to quarantine for 10 days after returning from amber list countries
  • Under-18s won’t need to quarantine

Other changes

  • People currently working from home should return to the workplace gradually
  • Limits on visitors to care homes will be removed

On 16th August most Covid restrictions in schools – including “bubbles” – will come to an end, ahead of the autumn term.

It will remain a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid.

The progression of these steps was reliant on the COVID-19 data at the time of each review. The assessment is based on the following four points:

1. The vaccine deployment programme continuing successfully.

2. Evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

3. Infection rates not risking a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

4. Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.

If you require any further assistance to help your business restart or recover, speak to one of our Growth Hub advisers about the support that could be available to you.

To find out about the financial support available to you during this time, visit this page.

Paying employees during national restrictions

In this year’s budget, it was announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is being extended further until the end of September 2021.

The Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1 November 2020, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.

Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary (up to £2500 a month).

Employers have to cover national insurance and pension contributions, and are now required to pay a salary contribution to furloughed workers from from 1 July. Find out more here.

Guidance for sectors affected by coronavirus

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has now published guidance with industry partners to assist relevant sectors that will be affected by the coronavirus restrictions. The guidance has been drafted up to support businesses in the cultural, arts, hospitality and events industries. You can access the full list of guidance through the partner websites here. Please do get in touch with the Gateway team at the Growth Hub who can guide you through support available here.

Working from home and public transport

From the 19th July, the Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, but is expecting and recommending a gradual return to the workplace over the summer. The government also expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.

Those unable to work from home are encouraged to walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Travel South Yorkshire have up to date information and advice on using public transport to share with employees and colleagues.

New vaccine toolkit for employers

The Department for Health has launched a new toolkit for employers to help ensure employees get reliable information about COVID-19 vaccines. Several major businesses, including Asda, IKEA and Santander, have already pledged to promote vaccine uptake with their employees and to allow flexibility for staff to get vaccinated during work hours.

Access the toolkit to get materials for you to run internal awareness campaigns promoting the benefits of vaccination, including key messages, posters, fact sheets and videos providing accurate up to date information. The government is calling on as many employers as possible to join the campaign and support the efforts to continue to bring the nation out of lockdown.

How we are helping

The Business Growth Hub is working to support you and your business to build back better following coronavirus.

Experienced local business consultants can support you to get your business back on track with Re-Start to Growth, a free support initiative where skilled experts will help you to assess, plan and restart your business.

South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis and the Local Enterprise Partnership have also developed an ambitious £1.7 billion plan for not just recovery, but renewal. The Renewal Action Plan supports people, businesses and places across South Yorkshire with interventions designed to make Sheffield City Region’s economy stronger, greener and fairer.