After the Prime Minister’s statement in the Commons today, I thought I would update you on the relaxation of lockdown restrictions and what it means for businesses in Scunthorpe.
Now, we move towards Phase 3 of our Exit Strategy. As we do so, please remember that the safety guidance provided by the government is as important now as it has ever been. Social distancing where possible, wearing face coverings in enclosed areas and keeping good hygiene will allow us to go further in the coming weeks without the risk of a second peak.
REOPENING FOR BUSINESS
Covid-Secure Guidance for all of these settings will be made available on gov.uk in the coming days. Please keep checking the following link where guidance for each sector will appear: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19. I will of course provide an update to you when I reiceive one.
Please remember that from July 1st, employers can bring furloughed employees on the Job Retention Scheme back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked. Employers will then be asked to contribute towards the cost of the furloughed employees’ wages from August 1st.
SHIELDING ADVICE EXTENDED
Yesterday the Health Secretary announced minor relaxation to shielding advice, however as it currently stands those who are shielding are not advised to leave home for work. It is likely that shielding will be “paused” in August, but until then please strongly consider keeping your shielding staff members in furlough/ remote work until there is a change in advice.
THE NEW "1 METRE PLUS" RULE
These reopenings are accompanied by the easing of social distancing guidelines so that these businesses can operate sensibly:
- Where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.
- Mitigations can include wearing a face covering, having a screen between others, wash hands or facing in different directions.
- Two households will be able to meet up in any setting. including indoors, with social distancing measures and people can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.
SELF-EMPLOYED INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME-
You can apply for the second round of self-employed grants from August. This final grant will only apply to businesses ‘adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020’. What will be classed as adverse effects, as well as examples, can be found here.
ADDRESSING THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT
Having recieved correspondencs from constituents who have been left out from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme due to a marginally higher employment income (sometimes due to their decision to re-invest in their own business) I will be writing to the chancellor to ask him to look into this issue.
OTHER INDUSTRY UPDATES:
FOOD AND DRINK: The Dept for International Trade and DEFRA have written a joint letter to MPs which contains a range of new schemes aimed at turning small food and drink businesses into international exporters as we leave the EU. You can read more about it here.
Food standards: Food Standards Update from Ministers and Food Standards Agency
TOURISM AND CAR RENTALS: The World Travel and Tourism Council has today released ‘Safe Travels Protocols’ for attractions, car hire and short-term rentals. These new guidelines should give you an idea of what Covid-Secure guidelines will look like for this area, or a better idea of what your next holiday will look like! Read here.
CONSTRUCTION: Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced new measures to boost building in construction, including extensions to planning permission deadlines, quicker planning appeals and more flexible working hours for builders. More information on how things will be sped up can found here.
CARE HOMES: More information on how and when to use the new PPE portal.
TRAINS AND COMMUTERS: Good news for those who commute South as the government has announced that electronic signalling will be installed on the East Coast Mainline to cut journey times and slash delays.
DRIVING TESTS: All tests remain suspended, but you can now sign up for email alerts to let you know when tests can be rescheduled.
MILITARY RESERVISTS: Reservists and those returning from service will be able to be furloughed by their employer, or be eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, when they return to their day job.
RETAIL: Letter from Small Business Minister to the retail sector.
AIR PASSENGERS: Covid Secure Guidance for airline passengers.
OTHER MP NEWS:
As always, me and my Office are available seven days a week to help with any queries you may have.