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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 14 August 2020

COVID lockdown eased but stronger enforcement measures announced
The government has announced that some of the remaining culture, sport, leisure and business sectors will be permitted to reopen from this weekend, following its decision to delay the process.

At the same time, it has announced a series of tough new enforcement measures targeting the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions.

  • Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos to reopen for the first time as well as indoor play and soft play centres which comply with new COVID-19 Secure guidelines
  • Beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas, barbers across England will be able to offer all close contact services and treatments. Nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques remain closed in law.
  • Wedding receptions for up to 30 people to resume – and indoor performances with socially distanced audiences will recommence
  • Sports and business events pilots to resume
  • All staff offering close contact services, including hairdressers, should now wear a face mask (type 2 surgical), in addition to a clear visor that covers the face. The guidance also applies to businesses that operate remotely, such as massage therapists working in people’s homes, and those learning in vocational training environments.
  • Fines will double to a maximum of £3,200 for those who repeatedly flout face covering rules
  • New fines to be introduced for people hosting raves or other unlawful gatherings of more than 30 people

Business Secretary, Alok Sharma said: ”From Saturday, salons, spas and other close contact services across England will once again be able to offer all services in a way that is safe for workers and clients.

“I am pleased to give these often small, independent businesses a much-needed boost as we progress with our plan to kickstart the economy to protect jobs and incomes.

“Opening up the economy is conditional on our continued success at controlling the spread of coronavirus. Therefore it remains essential businesses comply with COVID-19 secure measures to protect workers and the public.”

Full details of the changes can be found here.

Businesses urged to sign up to offer green homes improvements
Business Secretary Alok Sharma has urged tradespeople across England to step forward and sign up to be able to offer services through the government’s new Green Homes Grants scheme.

The £2 billion Green Homes Grant Scheme will see the government fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvements up to £10,000 to make over 600,000 homes across the country more energy efficient, supporting over 100,000 jobs in green construction, cutting carbon emissions and helping people save money on their energy bills.

The scheme will cover green home improvements ranging from insulation of walls, floors and roofs, to the installation double or triple glazing when replacing single glazing, and low-carbon heating like heat pumps or solar thermal – measures that could help families save up to £600 a year on their energy bills.

To take part and offer their services through the scheme, all tradespeople must register with TrustMark. Details of the Green Homes Grants scheme are available here.

Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The Green Homes Grant scheme will not only cut emissions and make a serious dent in people’s energy bills, but will create new work for many thousands of talented builders, plumbers and other tradespeople right across the UK. I’m urging businesses to sign up and get TrustMark accredited so they can crack on and offer their services to households across the country when the scheme opens.”

Additional updates and guidance

Fund to support dairy farmers opens for applications
The dairy response fund is now open for eligible farmers to apply for up to £10,000 of financial support following the coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19: Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships
Guidance for people planning to get married
 or form a civil partnership in England.

Working safely during coronavirus – performing arts update
Performing arts – Updated to Stage Four guidance – performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors).

New funding to double nursing apprentices and help deliver 50,000 more nurses
A new government package worth £172 million will help to train thousands more nursing degree apprentices.

Government extends coronavirus support for buses and trams, total funding tops £700 million
Bus and tram services in England
 to receive extra support worth up to £256 million.