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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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England

27 January [this guidance applies to ENGLAND]

You will not be required to wear a face covering, including in communal areas of schools, but the government suggests you continue to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

You’ll no longer need to show your NHS COVID Pass at venues and events by law.

20 January [this guidance applies to ENGLAND]

Staff and pupils in secondary schools and colleges will not be required to wear a face covering in classrooms.

19 January [this guidance applies to ENGLAND]

You are no longer asked to work from home if you can. Talk to your employer to agree arrangements to return to your workplace.

17 January [this guidance applies to ENGLAND]

16 and 17 year olds can now book a booster dose online. Parents and guardians of people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 between 12 to 15 years old, or those living with people at higher risk, will also be contacted to book a booster.

You can stop self-isolating at the start of day 6 if you get 2 negative rapid lateral flow test results on days 5 and 6 and do not have a temperature. If either test is positive, wait until the next day before testing again


Northern Ireland

5 January [this guidance applies to NORTHERN IRELAND]

If you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result, you should isolate immediately. You no longer need to book a PCR test.

31 December [this guidance applies to NORTHERN IRELAND]

People who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for 10 days from their PCR test date or when symptoms started, whichever is sooner. People can end self-isolation early if they get two negative rapid lateral flow tests – one from day 6 and the second at least 24 hours later.

27 December [this guidance applies to NORTHERN IRELAND]

You should reduce social contact as much as possible by meeting in groups of no more than 3 households.

Up to 6 people can meet in pubs, bars and restaurants, or up to 10 people if they’re all from the same household. Only table service is available.

2 metre social distancing is required in public premises and offices. Find out more about changes in Northern Ireland.


Scotland

24 January [this guidance applies to SCOTLAND]

There will be no limits on how many households can meet indoors or outdoors. There will be no need for physical distancing between groups at indoor and outdoor venues including bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and gyms. Table service will not be needed.

17 January [this guidance applies to SCOTLAND]

Most people will need to have had a booster dose to be recognised as fully vaccinated under the COVID certification scheme.

Restrictions on numbers at outdoor events are lifted. Indoor events remain limited to 100 people standing and 200 people sitting. The COVID certification scheme must be used for both outdoor and indoor events.

6 January [this guidance applies to SCOTLAND]

If you’re a close contact of someone with COVID–19 and you’re fully vaccinated along with your booster dose, you can take daily rapid lateral flow tests for 7 days instead of self isolating. If you test positive or develop symptoms during this time you should self-isolate for 10 days.

If you test positive for COVID-19 you should self-isolate for 10 days. You can end self-isolation early if you do not have a high temperature and get 2 negative lateral flow test results on days 6 and 7, taken at least 24 hours apart.

If you do not have symptoms and get a positive rapid lateral flow test result, you must self-isolate. You do not need to take a PCR test to confirm your result.

Find out more on gov.scot

27 December [this guidance applies to SCOTLAND]

Up to 3 households can meet with 1 metre physical distancing between groups at indoor and outdoor venues like bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and gyms. Table service is needed if alcohol is being served.



Wales

28 January [this guidance applies to WALES]

There will be no limits on how many people can meet indoors at pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres. Nightclubs will reopen.

21 January [this guidance applies to WALES]

Sporting events can have crowds, with no limits on how many people can attend outdoor events.

15 January [this guidance applies to WALES]

Up to 500 people can attend outdoor events.

6 January [this guidance applies to WALES]

If you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result, most people will not need to take a PCR test to confirm the result. You must self-isolate immediately if you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result.

31 December [this guidance applies to WALES]

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for 7 full days. On days 6 and 7 they should take rapid lateral flow tests 24 hours apart. If the results are positive, they should continue to self-isolate until they get 2 negative tests, or after day 10, whichever is sooner. If they are negative they can stop self-isolating. Find out more about self-isolation on GOV.WALES.

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

Find out how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace.

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.

There is different guidance for:

The above guidance applies to England, see the links below for:

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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Red list of countries and territories

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.


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