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Official guidance from UK government

For the latest information and advice, UK employers and business owners should visit the official guidance for employers and businesses.

There may be some variations to the below measures announced among devolved nations. Further information on support for businesses in the devolved nations can be found:

If you have any queries please contact:

UK Chambers of CommerceGlobal British Chambers of Commerce

Recent and upcoming changes

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UK wide

International travel (UK WIDE)

If you’ve been fully vaccinated in the UK, US or most of Europe you do not need to quarantine or take a day 8 test when returning from amber list countries.

England

If you've had contact with someone who's tested positive (ENGLAND)

If you’re fully vaccinated or under 18 you no longer need to self-isolate after close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you have symptoms you should still isolate and take a PCR test. Find out when to self-isolate and what to do on the NHS website.

Vaccinations for young people (ENGLAND)

16 and 17 year olds can now get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. They’ll be contacted and invited by the NHS but cannot book online.

Northern Ireland

Latest regulations (NORTHERN IRELAND)

Any number of people can now meet in a private garden or sit together at hospitality venues. Find out what you can and cannot do in Northern Ireland on nidirect.

If you’re fully vaccinated you do not need to self-isolate after close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You still need to take PCR tests and self isolate if either are positive, or if you have symptoms. Read the self-isolation guidance for Northern Ireland on nidirect.

Vaccinations for young people (NORTHERN IRELAND)

16 and 17 year olds can now get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Find out if you’re eligible and how to book on nidirect.


Scotland

Vaccinations for young people (SCOTLAND)

16 and 17 year olds can now get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Find out who can get the vaccine in Scotland and how to register on NHS inform.

No current protection levels (SCOTLAND)

To keep each other safe, there remain a number of principles and some legal requirements you should follow. Read the latest coronavirus guidance for Scotland on GOV.SCOT.

Wales

If you've had contact with someone who’s tested positive (WALES)

If you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you will not need to self-isolate after close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You’ll still need to take a PCR test. Everyone must still isolate for 10 days if they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Vaccinations for young people (WALES)

16 and 17 year olds can now get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Find out who can get the vaccine in Wales and where to book on the Public Health Wales website.

Alert level 0 (WALES)

Most restrictions have been lifted. You still need to wear a face covering in many places including public transport. Read the latest coronavirus guidance for Wales on GOV.WALES.

Roadmap steps in England

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England has moved to Step 4

The UK government is keeping in place key protections at step 4 from 19 July:

  • testing when you have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing in education, high risk workplaces and to help people manage their personal risk.
  • isolating when positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • border quarantine: for all arriving from red list countries and for those people not fully vaccinated arriving from amber list countries.
  • cautious guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable whilst prevalence is high including:
    • whilst the UK government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, they would expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer
    • UK government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport;
    • being outside or letting fresh air in
    • minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
    • encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS Covid Pass in high risk settings. The UK government will work with organisations where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of this. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the government will consider mandating certification in certain venues at a later date.

Lifting restrictions

Most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 have been lifted at step 4. This means that:

  • You do not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There are also no limits on the number of people you can meet.
  • However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
  • You should meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
  • The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer.
  • The requirement to wear face coverings in law has been lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
  • There are no longer limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There is no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing. You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.
  • There are no longer restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship. COVID-19 has not gone away, so it’s important to remember the actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe. Everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.


Further information available here.

Guidance and support for business

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Coronavirus Business Support

The UK government's Coronavirus business support hub brings together key information for UK businesses and employees.

Working safely during Coronavirus

The government has updated the guidance for businesses on working safely during Coronavirus.These guides cover a range of different types of work. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.

Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people’s homes can now be found in the relevant guides below.

There is different guidance for:

Further guidance for employers and businesses including:


Education and Skills

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Kickstart Scheme

  • Chambers of Commerce across England, Scotland and Wales are authorised gateways to the Kickstart scheme.
  • Chambers can help businesses to apply for a grant and provide a wide range of support for the employer and young person to ensure the Kickstart placement is a success.
  • Review the details and contact your local Chamber for more information.

Further and Higher Education

Higher education restructuring regime

  • A scheme for higher education providers in England facing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus

Apprenticeships


Advice for visa customers who need to apply for a passport

  • Advice for visa customers and applicants in the UK, visa customers outside of the UK and British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport and who are affected by travel restrictions associated with Coronavirus.

The Skills Toolkit

The Skills Toolkit is a free online learning platform to boost workplace skills during the Coronavirus outbreak and beyond.

Transport and travel

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Travel abroad: step by step

Safer Travel messages

As services get busier, it is more important than ever that the public follows Safer Travel guidance so they and others can travel safely.

People are being asked to minimise their travel. If they need to travel, they should follow the UK government’s guidance on how to travel safely:

  • No matter how you travel, you should plan ahead, and avoid busy times and routes where possible.
  • Walk or cycle where possible.
  • If using public transport, you should regularly sanitise your hands, wear a face covering unless you are exempt, and keep your distance where possible.
  • It is a legal requirement that, unless exempt, you must wear a face covering on public transport and inside transport hubs, e.g. train stations. You could be fined £200 minimum if you do not comply.
  • If travelling by car, you should avoid sharing a car with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. If this isn’t possible, you should open the windows, wear a face covering unless exempt, and leave seats free to social distance.

Trade

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‘Bounce back’ plan for agriculture, food and drink industry launched

  • A ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry was announced on 22 June to help support businesses that have been impacted by Coronavirus.

Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee

  • On 4 June, the UK government announced guarantees of up to £10 billion to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business-to-business transactions.
  • The measures will support thousands of businesses by protecting against customer defaults or payment delays
  • The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and available insurers operating in the UK market.

Force Majeure Certificates

These are certificates attesting the existence of force majeure circumstances i.e. circumstances beyond the control of the applicant such as fire, flood, industrial disputes, or in present circumstances, a pandemic. Please note that we can only certify factual details that can be evidenced. We cannot comment as to whether or not Force Majeure applies or argue such claims on behalf of the applicant. It is the responsibility of the applicant to claim Force Majeure and the issuing body’s role is to provide a certificate in support of such claim.

Delaying import duty payments as a result of Coronavirus

HMRC has released guidance on how to request an extension to the payment period for import duty/import VAT payments. Deferment is not automatic and requires immediate action.

Duty deferment account holders - Duty deferment account holders who are experiencing severe financial difficulty as a result of Coronavirus and who are unable to make payment of deferred customs duties and import VAT due on 15 April 2020 can contact HMRC for approval to enter into an extended period to make full or partial payment, without having their guarantee called upon or their deferment account suspended. The account holder should contact the Duty Deferment Office 03000 594243 or by email [email protected] or the Coronavirus helpline on 0800 024 1222. Account holders will be asked to provide an explanation of how Coronavirus has impacted their business finances and cash flow.

Duty Deferment account holders will be able to use their accounts during the extended payment period agreed unless they default on a subsequent payment in that period, in which case HMRC may consider suspending their account. The outstanding payment will not affect their duty deferment limit so they will not need to increase their guarantee to cover the outstanding payment. Where HMRC agree to an extended payment period, interest will not be charged on the outstanding payments provided they are paid in full by the agreed date.

Duty/import VAT payments not covered by a duty deferment account - Registered Importers who pay cash or an equivalent and are facing severe financial difficulties as a direct result of Coronavirus can contact HMRC to request an extension to the payment deadline at the time the payment is due. They will be asked to provide an explanation of how Coronavirus has impacted on their business finances. HMRC will consider this request and decide whether or not to agree an additional time to pay. The decision will be taken on a case-by-case basis and could be refused.

If the request is approved the conditions, including the length of time offered, will depend upon the importer’s individual circumstances and may require the holding of a guarantee for the period of the time extension. We cannot offer this facility to non-registered importers. For further information, please contact the Customs Debt Policy inbox.

Maintaining the flow of trade at the Border

In order to maintain the flow of trade at the border during the current COVID-19 outbreak, Border Control Posts (BCP) may temporarily accept scanned or electronic copies of health certification from competent authorities or operators in some specific scenarios/circumstances in relation to:

  • Third country imports - products of animal origin (POAO) including fish and fishery products for human consumption. It does not include those derived from porcine origin, animal by-products (ABP) other than unprocessed ABPs of porcine origin and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin (HRFNAO). It does not apply to germinal product and live animals (other than live fish).
  • Intra-EU trade - this measure applies to Intra Trade Animal Health Certificates (ITAHCs) and journey logs for livestock imports. Official Veterinarians (OVs) in the UK may also issue ITAHCs and journey logs for livestock exports from the UK to the EU, submitted on TRACES (if applicable) and via email to EU member states.

Any measures taken are only for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. Please refer to gov.uk for wider COVID-19 guidance or speak directly to the relevant BCP for further clarification and if you have questions about a particular import.

Coronavirus: Export Controls and Licences

In this 1-hour webinar, representatives from the Institute of Export & International Trade’s Export Control Profession and the Department for International Trade’s Export Control Joint Unit cover:

  • Continuation of UK export licensing during the pandemic;
  • EU controls relating to PPE and medical supplies and how they apply to UK;
  • Worldwide controls on PPE and medical supplies;
  • Importance for Export Control staff to communicate with their companies and supply chains;
  • The response of the IOE&IT and the Export Control Profession to the crisis.


BCC welcomes new rules on international travel restrictions

The decision to simplify the traffic light system in England will be very welcome news for businesses in the travel sector and beyond.  

BCC says business left in the dark on winter Covid contingency plan

Business will be frustrated by the inability of the Government to give them any detail around what circumstances could lead to new restrictions and what support firms could get.

BCC welcomes delay to import checks but says much more work is needed

Announcement of a delay is sensible given the ongoing issues with ensuring trader readiness, the need to build more border control posts and the skills shortages crisis.

BCC: Firms facing acute hiring crisis

The jobs market has continued its summer revival as demand for workers has surged following the easing of Covid restrictions. But record vacancies also highlight the acute hiring crisis faced by many firms.