BVEP - Business Visits and Events Partnership

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TIER Updates

Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update and Tourism Alliance (25 February)

Today’s update includes the recommendation that the UK should move from COVID alert level 5 to 4, the publication of the Northern Ireland Economic Recovery Plan as well as the more guidance on reopening businesses and venues In England


Reopening businesses and venues in England

Further to the release of the UK Government’s COVID-19 four-step plan to ease lockdown in England, new guidance on reopening businesses and venues in England has been published. Please see a summary of the relevant guidance for tourism businesses below. We will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available

Step 1 - from 8 March

Businesses permitted to open remain the same as currently allowed.

From 29 March

People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.

  • Outdoor sport facilities: Gyms, swimming pools, sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts), golf courses, including mini golf, water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres, archery venues.

Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April

At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits- as a single household or bubble indoors; or in a group of 6 people or 2 households outdoors (unless an exemption exists).

  • Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble can reopen
  • Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”)
  • Outdoor attractions can reopen at adventure parks and activities, animal attractions (such as at zoos, safari parks and aquariums), drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances, film studios, funfairs and fairgrounds, model villages, museums and galleries, skating rinks, theme parks, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks
  • Permitted businesses operating in otherwise closed attractions - such as a gift shop or a takeaway kiosk at a museum may only open where they are a self-contained unit and can be accessed directly from the street.
  • Outdoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to complying with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits
    • This could enable spectators at a grassroots sports match or a village fete, provided people do not mix beyond groups of 6 people or two households. ‘
  • Indoor events that bring people together - even if they do not mix with other households - must not run until Step 3. However, at this point, funerals can continue to proceed with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
  • Non-essential retail will reopen and includes retail travel agents
  • Personal care facilities and close contact services can reopen, including hair, beauty and nail salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas), holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology)
  • Indoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen including: gyms and leisure centres, sports courts, swimming pools, dance studios and fitness centres, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas, archery venues, climbing wall centres

Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May

At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits - in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors; or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors (unless an exemption exists).

  • Remaining holiday accommodation can reopen
  • Indoor areas of hospitality venues can reopen. As with outdoors, table service will be required.
  • Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions can reopen, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries, adventure playgrounds and activities, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, games, recreation and entertainment venues such as escape rooms and laser quest, play areas (including soft play centres and inflatable parks), model villages, snooker and pool halls, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks, indoor visitor attractions at theme parks and film studios, indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions, indoor attractions at botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes, indoor attractions at sculpture parks, indoor attractions at landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms, indoor attractions at stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites, conference centres and exhibition halls, including for the purposes of business events (subject to the capacity limits set out below)
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, and other performance events will also be permitted.
  • Both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation can be organised, subject to them complying with COVID-Secure guidance.
  • Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting events and performance events. Attendance at these events will be restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events. For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25% capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people.
  • Large business events will also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements as sporting events and performances.

Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June

  • The hope at this stage is to reopen remaining settings such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues,
  • To lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3. This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.
  • The Government will also look to relax COVID-Secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.


Northern Ireland Economic Recovery Action Plan

Yesterday the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance and CBI joined the Minister Dodds for the economy when she announced the publication of the Economic Recovery Action Plan. The plan sets out the key actions required to rebuild the Northern Ireland economy and it is significant as the Tourism industry has been recognised as a key economic driver in that recovery.  The plan can be downloaded here. The plan is based around 4 themes:

  • R&D and Innovation
  • Highly Skilled and Agile Workforce – HATS leads on this for the tourism & hospitality sectors
  • Green Economy
  • Investment, Trade and Exports

There are number of actions relating to Tourism which cover demand stimulation across home markets, Covid Holiday at Home voucher, product and experience development programmes, supporting regional connectivity and the development of a Sustainable and Regenerative Tourism Strategy.

Other updates


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme updates

A reminder of the date for claims for CJRS for furlough days in February 2021 must be made by 15 March 2021 has been added to the following pages:

Information about the banded ranges and employer claim data have been updated on the following pages:

New statistics are available for the following schemes:

Other updates


  • Essential Workers for Covid Testing

DHSC has published guidance on who is deemed to be an essential workers to be prioritised for PCR testing. From a tourism perspective it includes:

    • Those working in air, water, road and rail passenger transport
    • Those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery
    • Teaching and support staff including specialist education professionals

  • Planning Inspectorate Guidance

The Planning inspectorate has issued guidance to say that they are reviewing how they will operator over the forthcoming months in light of the Government’s Road Map in easing restrictions as well as liaising with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on their expectations for the planning system in the light of planning reform and wider system changes. After which they will “carefully evaluate the full range of practical options” continue to “engage with all customers, participants and stakeholders”.

  • Passenger Arrivals

The Home Office has released data on arrivals into the UK since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak. The key findings are:

    • There were around 630,000 air passenger arrivals to the UK in January 2021
    • This monthly average for April to June 2020 was less than 200,000
    • The figure for January 2021 is around 91% lower than the figure for January 2020, when there were 7.1 million arrivals.

  • Apprenticeship Guidance Updated Again

The guidance for businesses providing apprenticeships has been updated again to state that eligible apprentices can now start their EPA before they achieve their functional skills qualifications, if they have been prevented from doing so by coronavirus restrictions.


BVEP partners