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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 12 October 2020

Published on in Coronavirus

Three tier system of Coronavirus restrictions planned from Wednesday

The Prime Minister has confirmed a new three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions is going to be introduced in England.

The country will be divided into three Local COVID Alert Levels – “medium”, “high” and “very high” – depending on local infection rates. A postcode search on gov.uk, as well as the NHS COVID-19 app, will show which local alert level applies in each area.

The move, planned to come into force on Wednesday, is aimed at simplifying the range of different COVID-19 restrictions that were already in place across various parts of England.

Speaking at today’s Downing Street press conference, Chancellor Rishi Sunak says he knows people are “frustrated” by the idea of further restrictions, but that he has a “comprehensive plan to protect jobs and businesses in every region” of the UK through his recently announced Winter Economy Plan.

Speaking earlier in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister confirmed the following significant points:

  • Most areas in England will be put on a medium alert level – meaning current restrictions continue, including the 10pm hospitality curfew
  • Areas which already have local restrictions on household mixing will be automatically put on high alert. Under this category, social mixing will be prohibited indoors and in private gardens, and many businesses will be closed including pubs, gyms and casinos.
  • The prime minster has also pledged that all retail outlets, schools and universities will remain open.

Full details on the Alert Levels are available here.

The prime minister said he did not believe another national lockdown would be the “right course” in combating the pandemic. You can read the Prime Minister’s full statement to the Commons here.

£257m to save theatres, arts venues, museums and cultural organisations across England

More than 1,300 arts and cultural organisations are benefitting from a share of £257 million as part of a vital financial boost from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced.

Organisations that applied for grants under £1 million in the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund were informed this morning of their awards by Arts Council England which is distributing funding on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Further funding for organisations is due to be announced in the coming days and weeks.

Today’s funding will help 1,385 theatres, galleries, performance groups, arts organisations, museums and local venues survive the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Additional updates and guidance

Business Secretary urges businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period
Business Secretary Alok Sharma has written to more than 600,000 firms across the UK today, urging them to take action now to prepare for January 1 2021. In his letter, the Business Secretary called on businesses to familiarise themselves with the actions they will need to take, by visiting gov.uk/transition and using the checker tool.

Update to the expansion of the Job Support Scheme
The government has updated its information about the expansion of its Job Support Scheme (JSS) protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions.


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