Norfolk in Tier 4 from Boxing Day

On Wednesday 23 December, Matt Hancock announced thst Norfolk will be moving to Tier 4 restrictions from 00.01 Hrs on Boxing Day (26 December 2020).  

Tier 4 restrictions for businesses and venues:

Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The businesses required to close include:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods - these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor riding centres, and indoor climbing walls
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home - and for click-and-collect services

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including:

  • education and training - for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of film and TV filming

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods and services, including:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and pet shops
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor gym, pools, sports courts and facilities
  • golf courses
  • archery/driving/shooting ranges (outdoors)
  • outdoor riding centres
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Public services

The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:

  • the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists. We are supporting the NHS to carry out urgent and non-urgent services safely, and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help
  • Jobcentre Plus sites
  • courts and probation services
  • civil registrations offices
  • passport and visa services
  • services provided to victims
  • waste or recycling centres

Going to work

To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home should do so.

Where people cannot do so - including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing - they should continue to travel to their workplace. Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work.

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people's homes - for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople - you can do so.

Clinically vulnerable people are advised to work from home

If you are clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You:

  • should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others
  • should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
    • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • problems with the spleen
    • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
    • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • pregnant

 

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions.

Over this period, the Government is advising the clinically extremely vulnerable to work from home. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable and cannot work from home, you are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit

 

Schools and colleges

Schools and colleges will remain open during term time in Tier 4 areas. 

The Government has confirmed that all secondary schools and colleges in England will be offered help, support and facilities to implement an additional round of free coronavirus testing from the first week of January.

This will be alongside a staggered return to face-to-face education in secondary schools, starting with exam years, vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

The offer of tests builds on the extensive protective measures already in place in schools and colleges to make them safe, as well as the government’s recent announcement that every secondary school and college in England will have access to rapid testing from January.

In schools and colleges where year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults (staff and visitors) and pupils when moving around indoors, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

 

Business support schemes – unchanged from Tier 3

The grant schemes are called:

  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open)
  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector)
  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed), which also features an ‘addendum’ following the reimposition of England-wide restrictions as of 5 November 2020
  • Additional Restrictions Grant

 

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) Scheme:

  • The ‘Open’ scheme applies to businesses in Tier 2 and 3 areas which have been impacted by local restrictions but have not been required to close.
  • Local Authorities that accessed the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) due to Tier 2 restrictions will continue to be provided with funding to support severely impacted businesses under the scheme if the Local Authority moves into Tier 3.
  • Local authorities are explicitly given discretion to decide how to distribute the grants. The guidance requests they prioritise the “hospitality, hotel, bed & breakfast and leisure” sectors, but there will be “no penalty” for those that deviate from this guidance according to local circumstances.
  • Allocations of funding for this grant to each local authority will be made on the basis of the rateable properties in these sectors in the local authority area, plus a 5% ‘top-up’.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector) Scheme:

  • The ‘Sector’ scheme applies to businesses in sectors that have to close due to national regulations.
  • Grant funding for eligible businesses will be payable by Local Authorities in 14-day payment cycles with eligibility starting 1 November 2020.
  • In the event of renewed widespread national ‘lockdown’ restrictions being imposed, the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector) will cease to apply, as relevant businesses will receive funding from the LRSG (Closed).

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Scheme:

  • The ‘Closed’ scheme applies to businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas that have been required to close.
  • Allocations of funding to local authorities will be based on the number of properties subject to closure in each local authority area.
  • In addition to this funding, Local Authorities will continue to receive funding for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) scheme, which supports businesses that are allowed to remain open but are severely impacted by Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions. This continued funding will be subject to an adjustment which takes into account support provided through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed).
  • Local Authorities will receive 80% of the estimated grant funding for the first 14-day period of closures, based on an initial Government estimate. When this threshold of funding has been spent, Government will top up funding to Local Authorities if required. If further 14-day periods of closures are imposed, Local Authorities will receive the full required funding from Government to pay all eligible businesses that are mandated to close. To ensure efficiency and a smooth funding delivery process, unnecessary underspend should be avoided where possible.
  • The guidance does not say local authorities can use their discretion to allocate grants in the way set out in the ‘Open’ scheme guidance.
  • The guidance states that pubs and bars that operate click-and-collect services are to be treated as closed and therefore eligible for the grant.
  • The guidance also states that businesses that do not depend on supplying direct in-person services from their premises are not eligible for the ‘Closed’ grant. Examples include solicitors and accountants.

Additional Restrictions Grant (discretionary):

  • Under the Additional Restrictions Grant, Local Authorities will receive a one off lump sum payment amounting to £20 per head in each eligible Local Authority area. The funding can be used in financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22, and it can be used for general “business support activities”.

Christmas Support Payments for wet-led pubs:

  • An additional £1,000 grant is payable for pubs where the majority of their income is from alcohol sales rather than food. The payment will be a one-off payment for December 2020. For public houses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas who derive less than 50 of their income from food sales.

In addition to the ‘grants’ available, loan provisions, specifically targeted at trying to alleviate the cash-flow and continuity impact of Covid restrictions are still live

Other business support schemes

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme

(BBLS) have both been extended until 31st March 2021.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended to the end of April 2021.

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