National lockdown – Stay at home – Please read our latest COVID-19 advice.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) business advice

Page Updated: 1 March 2021

This is an unprecedented and challenging time for our residents, visitors and businesses. At this stage Experience West Sussex Partnership continues to advise and recommend that anyone in the area regularly keeps up-to-date on the latest government advice and how the government response may affect you. If you would like to raise any specific queries, please email getinvolved@experiencewestsussex.com.

Latest Government update

Roadmap out of lockdown 2021

Following the recent announcement, the Prime Minister announced the government roadmap that outlines how lockdown restrictions will be eased in England. The roadmap is in four steps. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.

This assessment will be based on four tests:

  1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  4. Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.

There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.

The full roadmap document is available here. A simplified table of the steps is available on pages 47-48. See below for a summary of the key points:

 

Step 1 (two parts split between 8 and 29 March)

From 8 March:
People will be allowed to spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on their own, with one other person, or with their household or support bubble. People must continue to maintain social distance from those outside their household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise which is already permitted.

There will continue to be restrictions on international travel. Holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel. Those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure.

From 29 March
People will no longer be legally required to stay at home, but some restrictions will remain such as continuing to work from home where possible and minimising all travel. The rule of six will return for outdoors, and meetings of two households will also be permitted. This includes in private gardens.

Outdoor sports and leisure facilities will be able to reopen and formally organised outdoor sports will be able to resume, subject to guidance.

 

Step 2 – from 12 April at the earliest, subject to an assessment of the data against the four tests
Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to 6 people or 2 households as in Step 1, and no indoor mixing will be allowed unless otherwise exempt. Additional premises below will be able to reopen but should only be visited alone or with household groups:

  • Non-essential retail
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers, salons and close contact services
  • Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3).
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres
  • Hospitality venues for outdoor service, without any curfew or the requirement for alcohol to be accompanied by a substantial meal – customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
  • Most outdoor settings and attractions including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas/performances/events will reopen

In addition:

  • Domestic overnight stays will be allowed and self-contained accommodation – those that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities – can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household.
  • 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).
  • International holidays will not be permitted.

All newly open settings must abide by the social contact rules. This will be accompanied by mitigations including workforce testing and continued social distancing guidance. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays will still be prohibited.

 

Step 3 – from 17 May, at the earliest and at least five weeks after Step 2
Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 30 people outdoors will remain illegal. Indoors, people will be able to meet socially in a group of 6, or with 1 other household (though it may be possible to go further than this at Step 3 depending on the data). COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits.

Sectors which will reopen include:

  • Indoor hospitality, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew. The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain;
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas;
  • Indoor entertainment, such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas;
  • Remaining accommodation, such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs;
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes; and
  • Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events.
  • Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
  • The Government will also make a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.
  • In addition, pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing.

In addition

  • Weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events including wakes can proceed with up to 30 attendees.
  • A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

 

Step 4 – from 21 June at the earliest, and at least five weeks after Step 3
With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact, reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs and enable large events, including theatre performances, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions (subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme) and remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.

Read the press release here.

In parallel to these steps, four formal reviews will also take place on the issues of:

  1. Social distancing and face masks
  2. The resumption of international travel – the global Travel Taskforce will report on 12 April with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern. Following that, the Government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than 17 May.
  3. COVID status certification to enable reopening of businesses, mindful of discrimination and privacy
  4. The return of major events.

Please refer to the full Government roadmap for more information.

 

National lockdown: Stay at home

On 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary.

You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

Read the full government guidance here.

 

Protect your visitors and staff

Certain West Sussex venues and businesses are legally required to display NHS QR code posters from 24 September.

We are therefore encouraging ALL businesses and organisations with a physical location open to the public to create official NHS QR code posters to display at their venue entrances to help support contact tracing.

NHS COVID-19 app users will be able to scan the poster as they enter a venue. This means that if people visit your venue and later test positive for coronavirus, other app users who were there at the same time may be sent an alert, if local public health teams think this is necessary. The app notification will not mention the name of your venue, it will just let app users know that they may have come into contact with coronavirus and provide them with public health advice.

It is a legal requirement from Friday 18 September for certain businesses to collect NHS Test and Trace data.

You should create and display a QR code if you are a business, or community organisation with a physical location that is open to the public. If you have more than one venue, you need to create a separate QR code for each location.

To create your NHS QR code poster, you will need:

  • the address details for each of your venues
  • your email address
  • an email address and contact phone number for each of your locations (for example, contact details of a store manager if that’s not you)

Create your NHS QR code poster here.

 

The priority actions for businesses to take are:

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment here.
  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
  3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own by clicking here.
  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that your customers can follow. Enable people in the same party who do not live together to remain a safe distance apart.
  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
  6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check ‘Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace’ for details.
  7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.

 

Business resources

A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. Please follow this link to find out how to access the support that has been made available.

To ensure that you always have the most up-to-date guidance,  please bookmark the appropriate links and regularly check for updates:

Visitor Economy

Hotels and other guest accommodation

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Heritage Locations

Offices and contact centres

UK Hospitality Protocols

Helpful resources

NHS advice

Financial advice

Mental Health advice

Legal Aid advice 

Business support webinars

Government business support webinars

Government webinars on supporting staff and self-employed

HMRC webinars: helping employers support employees

CIPD – HR resources and webinars

ACAS webinars

Sector related links

Visit Britain / Visit England

Helping the tourism industry recover from COVID-19 – VisitBritain paper

New industry standard in development in response to COVID-19 – VisitBritain

UK Hospitality

UK Inbound

Association of Independent Museums

Association of Leading Visitor Attractions

Confederation of British Industry

Federation of small businesses

Regional links

West Sussex County Council

Business West Sussex

Sussex Chamber of Commerce