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New three tiered system of COVID Alert Levels in England announced and Job Support Scheme updates 

On 12 October, the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons. The announcement sets out how the Government plans to standardise and simplify local lockdown measures, by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England - set at medium, high, and very high. You can view the areas in England listed as local COVID alert level high and local COVID alert level very high and the postcode checker on GOV.UK.
Lancashire is currently in Tier 2 “Alert level – High” though this may change at any time.

Please see below for more details and guidance on each alert level, further updates to the Job Support Scheme and other recent government updates.

Local COVID Alert Level - Medium
Covering most of the country - this will consist of the current national measures, which came into force on 25 September. For areas where national restrictions continue to be in place, this means:

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.
  • People must not meet in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors.
See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is Medium.

Local COVID Alert Level - High
This is for areas with a higher level of infections. The “high” alert level will reflect many current local interventions, but there will now be consistency across the country. This means the following additional measures are in place:
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • People must not meet in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.
This is the level that Lancashire is currently in. 

See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is High.

Local COVID Alert Level - Very High
This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.

The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:
  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed.
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.
See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is Very High.

All regulations will come into force from Wednesday 14 October. There will be a 4-week sunset clause on interventions in very high areas. 

During last night’s press conference, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, outlined the financial support measures being taken:
  • The new Job Support Scheme starts in November (for six months) to subsidise wages for staff on shorter hours and has been expanded to support businesses that are asked to close due to restrictions by covering two thirds of each employees’ salary. The current furlough scheme will continue until the end of October.
  • Those businesses legally required to close can claim a cash grant of up to £3,000 per month depending on the value of their business premises, the grants can be used to cover any business costs.
  • Additional funding for local authorities entering level three "very high" restrictions will be available - up to half a billion pounds to fund enforcement, compliance, and contact tracing. Also to protect vital services the Government will be providing around a billion pounds of additional funding for all local authorities.
Job Support Scheme guidance updated
The guidance for the Job Support Scheme has been updated to include businesses required to close as a result of the new alert scheme. New information has been added to clarify the support for businesses with different rateable values:
  • Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month).
  • Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month).
  • Properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1,500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).
Other Government updates New webinars for businesses
We are running a number of free webinars for industry, starting this week, focusing on business recovery, business events and travel trade.

Partner Information Hub
  • For general information and business advice regarding COVID-19 please click here
  • Get involved with our FREE #RedefiningLancashire campaign here
  • VisitBritain/VisitEngland have launched their 'We're Good to Go' scheme, a COVID-19 industry standard and consumer mark.
  • Take a look at our archive of communications from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Boost have launched an #AskForHelp campaign will include a dedicated helpline to advise companies in Lancashire about key business-related issues and connect them with experts from the public and private sector.
  • Don't forget to get in touch via twitter if you have any questions @MarketingLancs
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