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Covid-19 TfB Hub
Scotland to move beyond level 0
- Part of: Coronavirus in Scotland
Some protective measures will stay in place.
The legal requirement for physical distancing and limits on gatherings will be removed on 9 August when all venues across Scotland are able to re-open.
Some protective measures will stay in place such as the use of face coverings indoors and the collection of contact details as part of Test and Protect. Capacity limits of 2000 people indoors and 5000 people outdoors will also remain in place although some exceptions may be possible on a case by case basis. These will be reviewed on a three weekly basis to ensure they remain proportionate.
Adults identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 will also no longer be automatically required to self-isolate for 10 days from 9 August. Anyone who is double-vaccinated with at least two weeks passed since their second dose and who has no symptoms will be able to end self-isolation if they return a negative PCR test. The same conditions will also apply to anyone aged between five and 17 years old, even if they have not been vaccinated. The requirement to take a PCR test will not apply to children under the age of five.
Test and Protect will also implement revised guidance for under 18s. This means that the blanket isolation of whole classes in schools will no longer happen and a targeted approach, that only identifies children and young people who are higher risk close contacts, will be adopted. Fewer young people will have to self-isolate, and most will be asked to self-isolate for a much shorter period of time. To allow time to monitor the impacts of these changes, the majority of the mitigations that were in place in schools in the previous term will be retained for up to six weeks. This will help support a safe and sustainable return to education after the summer break.
While the gateway condition on vaccination has been met, with 92% of those over the age of 40 protected by two doses of the vaccine, there are still many more people who have not had the vaccine, cannot have it, or are not yet eligible for it. Invitations for vaccines are now going out to 12 to 17 year olds with specific health conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid. This follows the recent advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. We expect to have offered first doses to this group by the end of August.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The move beyond level 0 will entail the lifting of most of the remaining legally imposed restrictions - most notably, on physical distancing and limits to the size of social gatherings. It also means that from 9 August, no venues will be legally required to close.
“This change is significant and it is hard-earned. The sacrifices everyone has made over the past year and a half can never be overstated. However, while this move will restore a substantial degree of normality, it is important to be clear that it does not signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly as we knew it before Covid struck.
“Declaring freedom from, or victory over, this virus is in my view premature. The harm the virus can do, including through the impact of long Covid, should not be underestimated. And its ability to mutate may yet pose us real challenges.”
Further detail about measures announced today and updated guidance for the education sector will be published shortly.
Further guidance will be provided to businesses to help them adopt measures to mitigate risks, including ensuring good ventilation; maintaining good hand hygiene; practising respiratory hygiene; getting vaccinated; and continuing to engage with Test and Protect.
Some baseline measures will remain in place:
- it will continue to be the law, subject to exceptions, that face coverings must be worn in indoor public places and on public transport
- Test & Protect will continue to contact-trace positive cases. To assist with this there will be a continued requirement for indoor hospitality and similar venues to collect the contact details of customers. Anyone who is required to self-isolate will, if eligible, continue to have access to support
- we will work closely with local incident management teams on appropriate outbreak control measures
- we will continue to use travel restrictions, as and when necessary, to restrict the spread of outbreaks and protect against the risk of importation of new variants
- for now, we will continue to advise home working where possible, recognising that some staff will start to return to offices in line with staff wellbeing discussions and business need. we will encourage employers to consider for the longer term, as the Scottish Government is doing, a hybrid model of home and office working - which may, of course, have benefits beyond the need to control a virus
- we will, for a limited period, keep in place a gateway process through which organisers of outdoors events of more than 5000 and indoor events of more than 2000 will have to apply for permission. This will allow us and local authorities to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce risk
- we will continue to issue appropriate guidance to assist individuals and businesses to reduce the risk of transmission as much as possible, such as rigorous hygiene, including regular hand washing
Initial Summary of First Minister Announcement today (16.03.21):
- lifting the ‘Stay at Home’ requirement and replacing it with a ‘Stay Local’ message (retaining the current, local authority-based travel restrictions for at least a three-week period)
- the resumption of outdoor contact sport for 12-17 year olds
- return of college students within the top three priority groups identified by Colleges Scotland as most likely not to complete this academic year (estimated as 29% of learners)
- reopening of non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail
- extending the list of retail permitted to include:
° garden centres (indoor and outdoor)
° key cutting shops ° mobility equipment shops
° baby equipment shops
° electrical repair shops
° hairdressers and barbers (with shopfronts – not mobile services), by appointment only
° homeware shops
° vehicle showrooms (appointment only) and forecourts
*The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.
12/19 April, depending on term times:
- all children back to school full-time
Assuming the data allows it, SG expect a more significant reopening of the economy and society from 26 April. This will likely include the following easings:
- extending outdoor socialising to permit up to 6 people from up to 3 households to gather
- allowing 12-17 year olds to meet outdoors in groups of 6 from up to 6 households
- travel within all of mainland Scotland permitted (subject to other restrictions that remain in place)
- remaining shops can reopen and mobile close contact services can resume
- gyms can reopen for individual exercise
- tourist accommodation to reopen (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering)
- work in people’s homes to resume • driving lessons to resume
- weddings and funerals for up to 50 (including wakes and receptions with no alcohol permitted)
- libraries, museums, galleries re-open
- outdoor hospitality to open till 22:00 with alcohol permitted. Indoor hospitality permitted without alcohol and closing at 20:00
- social mixing in indoor public places will be subject to current maximum of 4 people from up to 2 households The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.
From 17 May, SG hope to introduce the following easings:
- re-introducing in-home socialising for up to 4 people from up to 2 households
- further re-opening of hospitality: bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes can stay open until 22:30 indoors with alcohol permitted and 2 hour time-limited slots and until 22:00 outdoors with alcohol permitted
- adult outdoor contact sport and indoor group exercises can resume
- cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can re-open
- small scale indoor and outdoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints (to be confirmed following stakeholder engagement)
- colleges and universities can return to a more blended model of learning
- more in-person (face-to-face) support services can resume
- non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors
- on 22 March, one final four-weekly payment of the SFBF, with no new claims permitted
- on 19 April, all SFBF recipients automatically given a combined two-week supplement and a one-off restart grant: up to £7,500 for eligible retail premises; and up to £19,500 for eligible hospitality and leisure The infrastructure for the SFBF will be retained and used as required in future for business support linked to any local outbreaks
- Discussing with the aviation sector this week what conditions would need to be met to restart nonessential travel to some international destinations again. Like the UK Government, SG are certain that this won’t be possible before 17 May and maybe for some time after. Even when overseas travel does resume, SG say that it is very likely that pre-departure and post-arrival testing will remain in place for some time to come. Will be kept under close review.
- Ban on non-essential travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK and the wider Common Travel Area (CTA) (i.e. the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) will also be kept on review, with a view to relaxing the ban – or targeting it only on travel to and from particular areas in the rest of the CTA – when it becomes safe to do so.
15.03.21: West Dunbartonshire
The Small Accommodation Providers paying Council Tax Fund (SAP-CTF) – designed to support eligible B&Bs, guest houses and self-catering accommodation that are not on Non Domestic Rates, but pay Council Tax is now live and online applications can be found here – https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/business/grant-and-loan/small-accommodation/
This fund has been introduced by the Scottish Government as a new package of sector specific support to help businesses closed or impacted by current protective measures and is part of the £104 million tourism and hospitality package announced in December 2020 - https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-small-accommodation-providers-support-scheme/
A grant of £2,000 payable every 4 weeks will be available to eligible businesses, not on Non Domestic rates but paying council tax. These payments will be 4 weekly, backdated to the start of January 2021, to cover the Level 4 restrictions which apply from 26th Dec 2020 lockdown period for the duration of level 4 restrictions, and no later than 31 March 2021. Please note this grant is not retrospectively backdated to 2nd November 2020.
To be eligible the business should have been trading on 2nd November 2020.
The fund will open to applications on 15 March and will close on 22 March 2021.
SME Brexit Support Fund is opening for applications later today – the Fund is targeted at SMEs who only trade with the EU, and provides grants to support professional advice around customs, excise, import VAT and safety/security declaration requirements.
- The SME Brexit Support Fund is now open to applications. https://www.customsintermediarygrant.co.uk/SME-Brexit-Support-Fund.com
- The £20m SME Brexit Support Fund supports small and medium sized businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.
- SMEs who trade only with the EU and are new to importing and exporting processes will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU.
- Businesses can use the grant for training on how to complete customs declarations; how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems; and specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin.
- Businesses can also use the grant to help get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.
- Businesses must be established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status, and not have previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations. They must also have no more than 500 employees and no more than £100 million turnover. Businesses must import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and also either complete (or intend to complete) import or export declarations internally for its own goods or use someone else to complete import or export declarations but requires additional capability internally to effectively import or export.
- This announcement follows extensive engagement with individual businesses, leading business organisations and trade associations from across all parts of the UK
- The fund will be administered by PwC through the pre-existing Customs Grant Scheme.
- Applications will close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date.
Scotland's Roadmap Out of Lockdown: Phased Approach announced by First Minister
Phase 1 (yesterday) early learning and childcare and schools open for Primary 1-3 pupils and senior phase pupils for essential practical work. Limited increase in the provision for vulnerable children. Care homes opening to facilitate meaningful contact between relatives/ friends and residents.
Phase 2 (unlikely before 15 March) - More school reopening - Non-contact outdoor group sports for 12-17 year olds. Socialising rules eased, to allow outdoor meetings of 4 people from 2 households.
Phase 3 - (at least three weeks later - possibly 5 April) Stay-at-Home requirement removed. Third and final phase of schools reopening if required. Places of worship can open on a restricted numbers basis. Essential retailers list expanded slightly and click-and-collect resumes for non-essential retail.
Phase 4 - possibly 26 April) Limited other easing within Level 4, including permitting non-essential work in people’s homes. Return to variable Levels approach. This will enable the graduated opening up of economic and social activity.
More Help for Self-Assessment Taxpayers
Self Assessment taxpayers will not be charged a 5% late payment penalty if they pay their tax or set up a payment plan by 1 April, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced.
The payment deadline for Self Assessment is 31 January and interest is charged from 1 February on any amounts outstanding. Normally, a 5% late payment penalty is also charged on any unpaid tax that is still outstanding on 3 March. But this year, because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, HMRC is giving taxpayers more time to pay or set up a payment plan.
Taxpayers can pay their tax bill or set up a monthly payment plan online at GOV.UK. They need to do this by midnight on 1 April to prevent being charged a late payment penalty.
The online Time to Pay facility allows taxpayers to spread the cost of their Self Assessment tax bill into monthly instalments until January 2022.
HMRC recognises the pressure affecting taxpayers due to the pandemic, and encourages anyone worried about paying their tax and unable to set up a payment plan online to contact HMRC for help and support on 0300 200 3822.
More than 97,260 customers have set up a self-serve Time to Pay arrangement online, totalling more than £367 million.
JANUARY TOP UP GRANTS ANNOUNCED
A significant top-up to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions will be paid following an announcement by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.
In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of:
- £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
- £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000
- £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
- £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000
In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the 4-weekly payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund will get an automatic top-up.
For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next tranche of payment for the Strategic Framework Business Fund due to go to businesses on 25 January.
Businesses that haven’t yet applied for either of these funds should submit an application as soon as possible through their local authority website. Applications are now open.
Ms Forbes said:
“Since the start of the pandemic Scottish Government support for business and the economy has reached almost £3 billion - more than a third of our total coronavirus (COVID-19) funding, demonstrating our commitment to provide as much help as we possibly can to our businesses.
“As promised, this additional support for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses will be available this month, in some cases doubling or tripling the amount of support we are providing. Applications are open now and payment will be made this month.
“Crucially this essential funding will also help to close the gaps in UK wide support for these impacted sectors and our one-off support for larger hospitality premises of £25,000 is considerably more generous than the £9,000 grant on offer in England.
“I’d encourage all eligible businesses to apply through their local authority if they have not done so already. Of course we are acutely aware that this support can never compensate for the full impact on business, but we must work within the resources that are available to us, and we continue to respond to the evolving economic challenges arising from the pandemic.”
David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium said:
“Shops and high streets across Scotland have been left reeling by coronavirus. These enhanced cash grants for retail business are a financial lifeline which will help non-essential stores through the current phase of being unable to open and trade.
“There isn’t a taxpayer-funded support scheme which can replace the potential losses of store closures, so it is very encouraging that the Finance Secretary has listened and responded positively.”
- larger hospitality businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,001 or more
- smaller hospitality businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,000 or less
- larger retail and leisure businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,001
- smaller retail and leisure businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,000 or less
For more information visit Find Business Support
FULL INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT WEBSITE:
5th JANUARY 2021
"STAY AT HOME" ORDER COMES INTO FORCE
Tough new lockdown restrictions forbidding people from leaving home for non-essential reasons have come into force across the Scottish mainland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the clampdown was necessary to contain the spread of the new strain of Covid-19.
People are now required by law to stay in their homes and to work from home.
Outdoor gatherings have been restricted to one-on-one meet-ups, and schools will close to most pupils until February at the earliest.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs on Monday that Scotland faced an "extremely serious" situation, with the new, faster-spreading variant of coronavirus "a massive blow".
Schools will remain closed to most pupils until at least the beginning of February.
The first minister has said she cannot guarantee when children will be allowed back in classrooms or when the latest lockdown restrictions will be lifted.
The new restrictions came into force at midnight and are, in effect, an enhancement to the level four curbs already in place across the mainland and Skye.
They will run until at least the end of January and could yet be extended both in scope and duration.
Scotland's island communities, with the exception of Skye, are to remain in level three for now, although Ms Sturgeon warned this would also remain under review.
New regulations mean Scots are prohibited from leaving their homes for anything other than "essential" purposes - although the law provides a lengthy list of examples of "reasonable excuses".
These include shopping for food or medical supplies, providing or accessing childcare, exercise, and participation in extended households.
Anyone who can do their job from home must do so, and people in the "shielding" category have been advised not to go out to work at all.
TUESDAY 17TH NOVEMBER
- From this Friday the 20thof November at 6pm, 11 local authority areas in Scotland will be placed into Tier 4 of restrictions including East and West Dunbartonshire.
For the areas going into Tier 4, these measures will be in place from three weeks, as of Friday, and will expire on 11th December.
You can find a full list of what Tier 4 measures entail here - COVID protection level 4.
And more detail behind the Scottish Government’s criteria and rationale for its decision-making here - Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels
- In addition, guidance on travel restrictions in Scotland will become law from Friday.
- That means people living in level three or level four must not travel outside their own council area, except for certain essential purposes.
- And those living elsewhere in Scotland must not travel to level three or level four areas, again apart from in limited exceptional circumstances.
- There is to be no non-essential travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK.
- The Scottish Government has announced that a new wave of cash grants of up to £3,000 will be made available for businesses impacted by restrictions.
- There will be a new £30m discretionary fund for councils to provide extra business support where needed.
- And a £15m fund in funding for newly self-employed people not able to access other support.
Current Support: Furlough, Closure and Business Restrictions
Key Business Information:
Only essential retail will be able to remain open in Level 4 providing they follow and have implemented Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff.
Click and collect, on-line services and outdoor retail, such as garden centres, outdoor markets and car lots, can also remain open.
Whilst retailers will implement procedures to ensure the safety of customers and staff it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure they comply with the following guidance:
- do not visit any retail premises if you have tested positive or have developed any of the COVID-19 symptoms
- you must wear a face covering when you go into any retail premises including any indoor area of a shopping centre, unless exempt. Read the face covering policy
- you must follow direction signs, one way systems and shop capacities if provided by a retail outlet
- maintain a 2 metre physical distance between people not in your household (or extended household)
- if shopping with others you must only do so from a maximum of 6 people from up to 2 different households (or extended households)
- In order to keep transmission rates as low as possible you are also advised to:
- avoid crowded shops. Try to avoid times when shops will be busy. If you do not think you can maintain social distancing in a shop, come back later
- visit stores that are using infection control measures and use the available hand sanitiser
- try to avoid touching goods unless you intend to buy them
- be polite. Please ensure that you are considerate to retail staff and abide by their guidance and instructions including removing face covering if requested for proof of age
- shop local and do not travel further than necessary to visit stores
- be patient – shopping may take longer than you may be used to and you may need to queue for longer as a result. Please do not smoke when queuing outside shops
- you should only use public transport for essential shopping where it is not possible in your local council area – you should use on-line shopping or shops, banks and other services in your local area wherever you can
Get help: If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are self-isolating, or are vulnerable or shielding and you need essential items like food or medicine you should request assistance from friends, family, community support groups, make an online order, or call the National Helpline on 0800 111 4000.
Offices, call centres and other workplaces
People are advised to work from home wherever that is practicable.
Businesses which provide essential services can continue to operate, such as those in Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sector (CNI) sector, courts and tribunals. There are 13 designated CNI sectors including agriculture and food production, activity to maintain the food supply chain, energy and transport.
Not all CNI activity will be essential. Those operations which can be done effectively through home working should be adopted.
Outdoor workplaces, construction, manufacturing, veterinary services and film and TV production can also remain open. They should plan for the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively.
Home visits by contractors should only be for essential services.
Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars will be closed. Sectors guidance is at: sector guidance for tourism and hospitality
Takeaways can still operate as normal, provided food and drink is sold for consumption off premises. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.
Hotels and other accommodation providers can still serve food to qualifying guests i.e. key or exempt workers, staying in their premises up to 22:00. Room service, including alcohol, is allowed as normal.
Close contact retail services
Close contact services and mobile close contact service providers must not operate in Level 4. Read more: Read more: Guidance for close contact services
Close contact services includes:
- hairdressing and barbers
- beauty and nail services (including make-up)
- hair removal
- tattoo, piercing and body modification
- fashion design, dress-fitting and tailoring
- indoor portrait photography
- massage therapies
- complementary and alternative medicine services requiring physical contact or close physical proximity between persons, but not osteopathy and chiropractic services
- spa and wellness services
- other services or procedures which require physical contact or close physical proximity between a provider and a customer and are not ancillary to medical, health, or social care services
Leisure and entertainment
All leisure and entertainment premises must be closed (except for use in limited circumstances).
Film and TV production can continue to take place. All such activity must be done in compliance with industry guidance.
All holiday accommodation is closed to tourism. Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only:
- anyone who is using that accommodation for work purposes
- anyone who requires accommodation to attend a funeral
- anyone who is providing accommodation or support services to the homeless
- anyone who uses that accommodation as their main residence
- anyone who needs accommodation while moving home
- anyone who is unable to return to their main residence
When providing accommodation to workers, this should only be open for essential workers who require accommodation as part of their role. Workers accommodation guidance.
Breaching the restrictions in the Regulations is a criminal offence, unless you have a “reasonable excuse” for doing so. This means that accommodation providers may offer accommodation to customers in other circumstances provided it is an essential purpose. An example of this would be where someone needs accommodation for an essential hospital visit.
In line with Competition and Markets Authority guidance, a full refund should be offered to customers who booked holiday homes, but could not stay in them due to lockdown restrictions. The regulation of consumer protection is the responsibility of the UK Government at Westminster. The Competition and Markets Authority has issued guidance to businesses and consumers about refunds
Travel and transport
Travel restrictions will be put into law on 20 November to further enforce the current guidance that restricts people who live in a Level 3 or Level 4 local authority area from travelling outside their local authority except for an essential purpose - such as work or caring responsibilities.
The regulations also prevent non-essential travel into a Level 3 or 4 local authority area, except for the same reasons.
FULL TIER 4 INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT WEBSITE
TUESDAY 3RD AUGUST 2021
SUMMARY OF FIRST MINISTERS STATEMENT
- Scotland will move beyond Level 0 next Monday
- A Number of mitigation measures will remain in place
- Self-isolation requirements for close contacts will be changing
- Update on COVID-19 statistics - generally positive: populations and ICU admissions due to COVID-19 are decreasing
- First Minister highlights cautious approach and vaccination milestones that have been met, have exceeded Scottish Government’s expectations
- There is still more to do, uptake for 18–29-year-olds needs to be better, deploying drop in centres.
- 12–17-year-olds with underlying health conditions are now receiving invites to get a vaccine.
- Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will soon share advice on other people in this age group, Scottish Government also ready to deploy vaccine booster programme for the autumn if okayed by JCVI
FROM NEXT MONDAY 9th August
- All limits on physical distancing and limits on social gatherings will be lifted
- No venues will legally be required to close
- First Minister stressed that this does not signal end of pandemic or return to life before COVID. Highlights risk of new variants.
- Will continue to be the law that face coverings must be worn in all settings that they are now, likely to remain in place for some time but will be kept under review.
- Hospitality and indoor venues will still be required to collect customer details for Test and Protect.
- While office return can now go ahead, Scottish Government will continue to advise working from home where possible, Scottish Government will encourage hybrid model and very much a phased return.
- Scottish Government will, for a limited period, keep in place the current processes of applying for permission for large scale events.
- Regular hygiene and ventilation will remain essential, will continue to advise the public that physical distancing will minimise risk even if not legally mandated.
- Scottish Government will continue to liaise with businesses to minimise risk of transmission, to ensure safe environments for customers and staff.
- Still looking at COVID status certification for access to higher risk venues in future, working on an app for international travel certification which will have capacity to adapt for domestic settings if deemed a requirement. App will be launched next month
- Changes to self-isolation rules -those who test positive or show symptoms will still have to automatically self-isolate.
- However, close contacts of someone who has tested positive will no longer be required to self-isolate automatically for 10 days if they have been double vaccinated and are not showing any symptoms. Instead they would have to take a PCR test which comes out negative.
Why Join the Chamber
I would highly recommend chamber membership to any Dunbartonshire business. The chamber works hard to make connections and generate profile for its members and SHBT have enjoyed a number of benefits over the years.Elizabeth Mackay, SHBT