New Economy Minister confirms further Welsh Government support for businesses impacted by phased move to alert level 1
Businesses in Wales materially affected by the phased move to alert level 1, such as indoor attractions and wedding venues, will receive £2.5 million in further support from Welsh Government, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, has announced today (14/06/21). Since 17 May, businesses in Wales still affected by coronavirus restrictions have been able to apply for up to £25,000 in emergency support to help meet ongoing costs until the end of June.
Additional funding is now being made available to support businesses affected by the staged transition to alert level 1, due to the impact the delta variant of COVID-19 is having on transmission rates. The staging takes account of concerns over the impact the delta variant of COVID-19 is having on transmission rates and potential increase in hospitalisations. Support will be available for businesses that have capacity for events of more than 30 people indoors or in contained spaces and to businesses that are still closed because of ongoing restrictions.
To receive the funding, businesses will need to have applied to the Welsh Government’s latest round of emergency funding, the deadline for which has been extended until 12pm Wednesday 16 June 2021. Eligible applicants will automatically receive the top-up where possible, or will be required to self-declare via a simple online process. Details are available on the Business Wales website: COVID-19 Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) Business Support – May and June 2021 Eligibility Checker.
From today (07/06/2021) Wales starts moving to alert level one, which now means that:
The Welsh Government will consider further changes to the regulations on indoor activity later this month (June 2021) if public health conditions allow.
He also announced that in light of the changes being announced today, the application window for the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) has been extended until the end of June 2021 in order to support sectors further impacted by these changes, specifically those wedding, events and attractions venues with capacity for more than 30 guests. The Welsh Government is working with impacted sectors to top up the current ERF package for the May and June period. Businesses that have already applied do not need to take further action.
Full Welsh Government details here: https://gov.wales/alert-level-1-guide
HMRC has published a new guidance document for the Self-Employed regarding applications for the Fifth Grant. It is important to note that the fifth grants differs from previous grants in that the amount that a person will receive will be determined by how much their turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021. To work out your eligibility for the fifth grant, HMRC will first look at their 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment tax return and you will only be eligible if your trading profits are no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income. If you are not eligible based on your 2019 to 2020 tax return, HMRC will then look at the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020.
HMRC will provide more information and support by the end of June 2021 to help applicants work out how their turnover was affected.
This Visit Wales sponsored piece of research (May, 2021) provides insights into the prospects for the recovery of the visitor economy in Wales.
It forecasts a very large fall in inbound and domestic tourism in the UK in 2020, with potential for partial recovery in 2021, led by domestic holidays. There are uncertainties in market recovery paths, but the domestic market is forecast to return to 2019 levels in 2022-2023 with inbound visitor levels taking longer to recover by 2024-25. In terms of the proportion of normal annual revenue lost the median reported loss in 2020 was 61–70% of normal revenue.
Virus control is leading to an improvement in outlook, but the majority of consumers still do not expect normality until 2022 onwards. However, the good news is that the resumption of holidays and travel is a priority for consumers. Four in 10 Britons reported that the past year is the longest they have ever gone without a holiday, taking a toll on their wellbeing.
Government support has protected incomes, but economic impacts have affected people in different ways. Younger people and family life-stages more are likely to be negatively impacted with empty nester and AB’S more likely to be better off. Value seeking, financial security and trip substitution are all possible coping behaviours. There has been a notable strengthening of confidence to travel in the Spring and Summer, but a minority are confident they will be able to take a UK short break or holiday during the next 2 months. Confidence rises for the summer, and confidence amongst Wales residents has been growing in line with whole of the U.K.
The pandemic has reduced peoples level of comfort undertaking many leisure activities, with confidence falling during the recent lockdown this year, although signs of increasing in most recent survey waves. Comfort levels are notably lower for visiting indoor attractions, busy city centres and travelling by public transport. Participation has generally been lower across most activities by Welsh residents. Participation has also generally been higher for pre-family and family life stages rather than older independents and retirees. Walking, cycling, wildlife watching, swimming and spa and health treatments are the activities that people state they are more likely to do over the next few months.
Empty nesters are more likely to be avoiding busy urban destinations and show a higher tendency to wish to revisit old favourite destinations, preferring familiarity. Families are more likely to be preferring less expensive places and avoiding shared accommodation. Pre-Nesters favour trying new destinations, but are also looking for less expensive places to visit. The main barriers to taking domestic city breaks are concerns around catching Covid or restrictions on socialising, fewer places to visit and expense.
...and no real surprise here, Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire remain the most popular destinations Pembrokeshire is the most popular for Welsh residents and Snowdonia for English residents. Seaside and rural areas remain the areas most people intend to visit in Wales with subdued demand for urban areas.
Notes This information includes information from the consumer and business tracker surveys published by Visit Wales/Welsh Government. The consumer tracking surveys are undertaken in conjunction with Visit Britain, Visit England and Visit Scotland. This also includes information published by other third parties. Further information or queries: email@example.com
Guidance from Welsh Government: Businesses are able to set their terms and conditions for entry as long as they comply with equalities legislation. Businesses need to be careful that they aren't indirectly discriminating against certain groups of people - e.g. younger people who have not been vaccinated yet, pregnant women who decide not to be vaccinated. There are also groups of people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Certain groups of people have “protected characteristics” under equalities legislation e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, disability, belief, sexuality and discrimination against these groups is illegal. Although there is an exemption for indirect discrimination under equalities law where action is for “a proportionate and legitimate aim”. Businesses who want to restrict access on ground of vaccination would need to demonstrate that their action is proportionate and legitimate. They would need to carry out risk assessments that clearly show why it is necessary for them to treat vaccinated people differently and why other Covid secure measures are not sufficient. These risk assessments would need to be regularly reviewed. There is no legal requirement for businesses to check vaccination status.
As you re-open, please ensure that you are aware of and following the updated guidance which can be down loaded from the front page of our website.
As each premises is different, businesses should read the relevant guidance to understand the measures to be considered to re-open the business safely. Key areas businesses need to remain focussed on are:
· Ventilation All hospitality businesses should take action to increase ventilation at their premises. This is such an important step that you, as a hospitality business, can take to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus in your pub, bar, café or restaurant. Good ventilation reduces how much virus is in the air. It helps reduce the risk from aerosol transmission when someone breathes in small particles in the air after a person with the virus has been in the same enclosed area. Think about what extra measures you can introduce to improve airflow by opening windows and propping open internal doors (but not fire doors) wherever possible.
· Keeping records In Wales, it is compulsory for hospitality businesses - including pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants - to collect details of staff, customers and visitors to support the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service. This means that if you run a hospitality business, you must introduce an electronic or paper-based system that will record the name, contact details and arrival time of every customer (excluding children). This is a legal requirement and is vital to supporting contact tracing in the event of an outbreak. Asking customers to use the NHS App is not enough and does not exempt a business from collecting this information.
· Face masks Staff working in all indoor and outdoor areas accessible to the public must wear masks (unless they have a reasonable excuse). This means that masks must be worn by staff serving customers food and drink and when staff move around the premises. This is a legal requirement in indoor spaces and masks must also be worn by staff serving customers outside. Your customers must also wear face masks when not seated to eat or drink at their allocated table.
Checklists are available which outline the key measures for Keeping Records, along with Social Distancing and Hygiene, that you should implement to keep your staff, customers and visitors safe. You can also use the Business Action Card which provides you with information on how to keep COVID-19 out of your premises, what action to take when an employee or customer tests positive and how can you minimise the spread of COVID-19 in your business. This has also been shared as guidance to enforcement officers with Environmental Health teams and Incident Management Teams at Local Authorities for use as they visit hospitality businesses.
The ONS has produced new regional data on the impact of restrictions on businesses. It reports that Wales had the highest percentage of single-site businesses currently trading in early May 2021, at 87%. However, the data, as usual, shows that tourism/hospitality is the most impacted sector of the economy but there are quite marked regional differences. 68% of hospitality businesses report a decline in revenue which is twice the percentage of UK businesses as a whole (34%) that report a decrease in turnover.
The UK Government’s resource support site has been revised to:
Of note the many of you will shortly, if you have not yet, be receiving Form VO 6048 from the Valuation Office. It is a legal requirement to fill in this forms with ever increasing fines for non-compliance. The purpose of the forms is for the Valuation Office to gather data to try to ensure that the revaluation of all Rateable Values is done based on as much information as possible. WTA Members, PASC UK has very kindly supplied a handy guide on how to fill in this form available on https://www.pascuk.co.uk/publications second row down on the right on the page.
The First Minister has confirmed that Wales will move into alert level 2 on Monday (17th May 2021). This will mean that: