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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 22 May 2020

Exemptions for critical workers in UK’s new COVID-19 quarantine rules 

New measures at the UK borders to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections have been announced by the Home Secretary today. They include 14 days’ self-isolation for anyone entering the UK, bar a short list of exemptions. The arrangements are due to come into effect on June 8 2020.

Speaking at today’s Downing Street press conference, Home Secretary Priti Patel said a full list of the exemptions will be published on They will include:

  • road haulage and freight workers, to ensure the supply of goods is not impacted
  • medical professionals who are travelling to help with the fight against coronavirus
  • anyone moving from within the Common Travel Area, covering Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
  • seasonal Agricultural Workers who will self-isolate on the property where they are working

The Home Office says it has been working closely with industry partners ahead of announcing the changes (click here for more detail). They will be subject to review every three weeks, to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary.

The Home Secretary added that the government will continue to look at further options including ‘air bridges’ – agreements between countries who both have low transmission rates to recognise each other’s departure screening measures for passengers and removing the need for quarantine.

But she said that whatever happens must be done in a “practical” way and the UK should be “leading the world” in reopening aviation.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “As the world begins to emerge from what we hope is the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of cases crossing our border.

“We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave.

“I fully expect the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures. But we will take enforcement action against the minority of people who endanger the safety of others.”

Additional updates and guidance

£20 million of BEIS funding to support a new clean technology early stage investment fund
Clean Growth Fund update (click here for more detail)

Coronavirus support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations
Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors. Details added for trade associations GAMBICA and BEAMA (click here to view). 

Competition law exclusion orders relating to coronavirus (COVID-19)
A register of agreements relating to exclusion orders made by powers under paragraph 7 of Schedule 3 to The Competition Act 1998 (click here to view).

£300 million additional funding for local authorities to support new test and trace service
Local authorities will be central to supporting the new test and trace service in England, with the government providing a new funding package of £300 million (click here for more detail). 

Charities encouraged to bid for £15 million Tampon Tax Fund
Organisations supporting women and girls are today invited to apply for a share of £15 million from the Tampon Tax Fund. The Tampon Tax Fund comes entirely from VAT receipts on women’s sanitary products (click here for more detail).

Help with mortgages to continue for homeowners affected by Coronavirus
Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage due to Coronavirus will be able to extend their mortgage payment holiday for a further three months, or start making reduced payments, in proposals published today (click here for more detail)

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do
Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak have been updated (click here to view).