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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin

21 December 2020

Government announces new Tier 4: 'Stay at Home' Alert Level in response to new COVID variant

As a response to a rapid rise in infections attributed to the rapid spread of a new variant of COVID-19, tougher restrictions have been introduced for London, large parts of the South East and East of England, with a new Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ alert level, that came into force at 00:01 hrs Sunday 20 December 2020. 

As a result, the following areas have moved from Tier 3 to Tier 4:

  • Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings;
  • London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London); and
  • the East of England (Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Essex excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).

For business, those that can, should work from home.  Where people cannot work from home, they should still travel to work, for example, in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

Non-essential retail, indoor leisure [such as swimming pools and gyms], indoor entertainment [such as cinemas, bowling alleys and casinos], and personal care sectors [such as nail bars, barbers and hairdressers] must all close.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to businesses:

  • Loans, tax relief and cash grants are available
  • Employers might be eligible for financial support to pay wages
  • Self-employed people might be eligible for a taxable grant covering 80% of trading profits

Business support advice can be found here.

New travel advice between the tiers: People should not travel into or out of Tier 4 areas and, those in Tier 4 areas will not be permitted to travel abroad, apart from limited exceptions including work.

People in Tiers 1, 2, and 3 should stay local.

A copy of the Prime Minister’s statement announcing the changes can be found here.

Specific information for businesses and employers in Wales Scotland and  Northern Ireland  is available.

 

New and Updated Guidance

NEW Guidance

Tier 4-Stay at Home: For Guidance on what you can and cannot do in areas with a very rapidly rising level of infections, from 20 December.

Tier 1: Medium alert: This page has been updated to reflect introduction of Tier 4 including updated travel, going to work guidance and what you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 1 of local restrictions.

Tier 2: High alert: This page has been updated to reflect introduction of Tier 4 including updated travel, going to work guidance and what you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 2 of local restrictions.

Tier 3: Very High alert: This page has been updated to reflect introduction of Tier 4 including updated travel, going to work guidance and what you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 3 of local restrictions.


UPDATED Guidance

Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus: Guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain, and report incidents of coronavirus has been updated under the section ‘What you can do to manage a possible outbreak’.  Further details can be found here.

 

Other useful links

Some aspects of business support are devolved. Specific information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is available. In England, Growth Hubs can advise on local and UK Government business support. You can also find helpful business case studies and other useful information on the Coronavirus Business Support Blog.