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Covid-19 update for tourism businesses - 04 December 2020

Supporting our local tourism industry through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Swansea Council's Tourism Team will continue to post regular updates to help tourism businesses access the relevant information and support through the Covid-19 pandemic.

New rules for hospitality & leisure sector 

These are the new restrictions, which apply to the hospitality and leisure sector from 6pm Friday 4 December:

  • Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will have to close by 6pm and will not be allowed to serve alcohol.
  • After 6pm they will only be able to provide takeaway services. 
  • Indoor entertainment venues, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos, skating rinks and amusement arcades, must close.
  • Indoor visitor attractions, such as museums, galleries and heritage sites will also have to close.  

Download the one-page guidance summary from Welsh Government below:

PDF Document COVID-19 Hospitality Guidance - one page summary (PDF, 103KB)Opens new window

More detailed guidance is available from the UK Hospitality website.

National Covid-19 guidance from 4 December

Welsh Government have published their new guidance, which apply from 6pm Friday 4 December. 

Although some of the cross-border travel restrictions have been eased, there are no changes to household bubbles, meeting in public indoor or outdoor places.

Here's a quick summary:

  • Travel in to Wales from Tier 3 areas in England, Levels 3 and 4 areas in Scotland and from Northern Ireland is not allowed.
  • Visitors from other parts of the UK are not prohibited by law from entering Wales. But as coronavirus cases are high in Wales, the First Minister wants everyone to think carefully about travelling. 
  • Two households can form a bubble (or 'extended household'), meet in their private homes and stay overnight. This does not apply to holiday accommodation.
  • Holiday accommodation: only people who live together (single household) can share holiday accommodation - no mixed groups, 'extended household' or 'Christmas Bubble'. 
  • Up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoors activity and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors.
  • Outdoor visitor attractions will remain open.

Welsh Government will formally review these restrictions by December 17 and then every three weeks.

£340m support for Welsh businesses 

The Welsh Government is making a further £340m available to support businesses affected by the new changes to the regulations. The new support package is split into two funds: a £160m Restrictions Business Fund and a £180m sector specific Economic Resilience Fund grant scheme.

Restrictions Business Fund 

The purpose of the fund is to support businesses into the new year with cash flow support to help them survive the economic consequences of the restrictions put in place. 

  • This fund will be delivered by your Local Authority.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or less and materially impacted as a result of the restrictions will receive a payment of £3,000.
  • Tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses and their supply chains with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £150,000 and materially impacted by the restrictions will receive a payment of £5,000.
  • Lockdown Discretionary Grants of up to £2,000 will be available for those not on the non-domestic rating (NDR) list and below the VAT threshold.

Hospitality businesses who received the Lockdown Business Grant in October via their Local Authority will begin receiving payments via the ERF Restriction Fund into their bank account during December. These businesses will NOT be required to re-register their details.

All other eligible businesses will need to register their details and apply to their local authority for the discretionary elements. More details will be published soon.

Find out more about the Restrictions Business Fund

Economic Resilience Fund Sector Specific Support for Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure

  • Sector specific grants will be targeted at hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses and will provide grants of up to £100,000 for SMEs and £150,000 for larger businesses.
  • Grants will be linked to the number of people employed and their operating costs.
  • Up to 10,000 businesses will be supported.

A triage tool will be available on the Business Wales website by 11 December to check eligibility for the fund, which will open to applications on 11 January 2021.

Find out more about the ERF Sector-Specific Support for Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure businesses

'Christmas Bubbles': easing of restrictions between 23-27 Dec

A broad set of UK-wide measures to help people come together with their loved ones during the festive period, in a way that is as safe as possible, have been agreed by the governments of the UK's four nations. The First Minister has announced that between 23 and 27 December, coronavirus restrictions will be eased as follows:

  • Up to 3 households can join and form a fixed 'Christmas Bubble'
  • One person living on his/her own can also join the 'Christmas Bubble'
  • This bubble can meet indoors in private homes and stay overnight 
  • Travel restrictions across the four nations and between tiers will be lifted during this period
  • You can't go to a pub or restaurant with your bubble or stay in holiday accommodation 
  • You can still meet people outside your Christmas bubble outdoors

Read the full announcement on the Welsh Government website.

'Christmas Gift Ideas' campaign - the perfect gift for local businesses

Our new 'Christmas Gift Ideas' campaign is proving popular by giving residents and visitors the chance to share their love for the area with unique, local Christmas gifts. 

It's also raising the profile of local businesses and our beautiful area in the run-up to Christmas. 

If your business provides mail order gifts, gift vouchers or gift experiences, you can join our campaign for free. You will also get a free listing on visitswanseabay.com - the official destination website for Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower.

Find out more by contacting the Tourism Team at tourism.team@swansea.gov.uk - we look forward to hearing from you.

Freelancer Fund Phase 3 - closing 7 December

Last call for applications from freelancers who work in the following sectors:

  • The Arts
  • Arts and Heritage Events
  • Non Sport related events that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic
  • Creative Industries
  • Culture and Heritage

You can apply here until Monday 7 December (5pm).

 

Reduced cost parking in City Centre until end January

Swansea Council has extended its City Centre car parking incentive scheme until the end of January 2021 to help city centre businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Motorists visiting the city centre can park for £1 for the first two hours and all-day parking will be just £2.

The offer covers all city centre car parks including multi-storey and pay and display car parks.

Hanging baskets and floral displays - orders taken for 2021

Are you looking for something new to brighten up your business in 2021? Swansea Council are now taking orders for our beautiful hanging baskets and floral displays.

They will be delivered from May 2021 for you and your customers to enjoy when they're in full bloom throughout the summer months.

You can request to have your displays watered and fed throughout the summer so you won't have to worry about keeping them looking their best.

Find out more about hanging baskets for businesses. 

Coronavirus loan schemes and Future Fund - extended to January

The loans are designed to support UK businesses that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The schemes listed below have been extended to 31 January 2021:

  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
  • the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) - and the Future Fund

Eligible businesses will be able to 'top up' existing Bounce Back Loans should they need additional finance, please visit the British Business Bank website for further information.

Further information on the changes to the four schemes will be available on the British Business Bank website in due course.

Furlough Scheme extension - how to claim

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), also known as furlough scheme, has been extended until the end of March‌‌‌ 2021 for all parts of the UK.

For claim periods running to 31‌‌‌ January 2021, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees' usual wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work. 

The UK Government will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.

Flexible furloughing is allowed, this mean staff can work part-time while on furlough or be furloughed full-time.

The Job Retention Bonus will no longer be paid in Fe‌‌‌bruary 2021, as CJRS will be available at that time. An alternative retention incentive will be put in place at the appropriate time.

Final date for claims for the period up to 31 October is still 30‌‌‌ November 2020 and there are now monthly claims.

Full guidance on claims has been published on the HMRC website.

You can also register for their free CJRS webinar, which will provide an overview of the extension of the scheme, how employers will be affected, flexible furloughing, key dates and support available. Various dates and times to choose from.

EU transition period ends 31 December - is your business ready?   

During the transition period, the majority of the current EU rules and trading arrangements have remained in place with no significant changes in most areas.  However, the end of the transition period is fast approaching and this will mean changes to the current rules on trading, as will the right to travel without visas to other EU countries.

From 1 January 2021, the UK will have left the EU Single Market so businesses here will no longer have access to the frictionless trade in goods or services with EU member states. This will be the case irrespective of whether the UK achieves a trade agreement with the EU or leaves through a non-negotiated outcome.

The Business Wales EU Transition Portal provides a central source of advice and guidance for businesses preparing for European transition

The Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, has also issued a letter to assist businesses which are not yet fully prepared for changes which will occur and affect business operations.

The letter outlines the support available to businesses to assist them through the EU transition period and beyond. If you are engaged in trade with the EU, it will be important to consider how these changes might affect your business.

Read the letter in full here.

Settlement Scheme for EU citizens - supporting your employees

European citizens are part of the make up of the Welsh tourism and hospitality workforce, therefore we urge all businesses to support their EU employees in making an application to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

If you employ EU, EEA or Swiss citizens, they, and their families, must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

The Welsh Government have partnered with a number of advice services to enable you to assist your European workforce to access the support they may need to apply to the EUSS and help you retain your current workforce.  This package of support includes digital support with applications or help with basic queries about eligibility from Citizens Advice. Free specialist immigration advice is also available for people with complex cases delivered by Newfields Law.

Further information about EUSS can be found on the Welsh Government and the UK Government websites.

Superfast Business Wales - free Winter webinars for businesses 

Digital support organisation Superfast Business Wales has launched its free winter webinar programme to include: social media, digital marketing, SEO, online tools, cyber security, websites, and more. 

Get the digital skills and confidence you need to help navigate these uncertain times.

Multiple dates, times and topics are available from December to January. 

You can also find the answers to the most common digital questions on their 'Ask the Expert' page. 

For other types of training and business support, visit the Business Wales website. 

Useful links to keep checking for updates:

If you would like to receive these updates directly in your inbox, please contact Geraldine.Williams@swansea.gov.uk 

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