White Cliffs Country (the tourism arm of Dover District Council) has taken steps to ensure its businesses and visitors are fully updated with Covid-19 information and support on this platform. We are regularly reviewing communications and advice from leading tourism associations to ensure we have up-to-date information and advice relevant to the tourism industry.
Please click on the headings below to read more.
Public health advice
Government updates: Winter Plan and Tier Rules (England)
On 23rd November 2020 the Government announced its Winter Plan for managing Coronavirus (Covid-19). The plan details:
- The Government's objectives
- Route back to normality
- Controlling the virus
- A targeted approach in England
- Christmas and beyond
- Maintaining the right behaviours
The Prime Minister also updated Parliament on the rules that would apply in England once national restrictions are lifted (from 2nd December 2020). In his statement the Prime Minister announced that:
- A new Tier level would be announced for each area
- More areas will be in higher Tiers than before England went into national lockdown
- The rules for each Tier will also be tightened (although there is some loosening too - such as business events)
- Enforcement powers for local authorities will be strengthened, including specially trained officers with the power to close down premises that pose a risk.
Full guidance on what restrictions are in place for each Tier and what this means for local businesses can be found using the postcode locator.
All businesses and venues that are open are expected to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers. It may be of particular note to the tourism industry that in all tiers, the following businesses and venues can remain open:
- essential and non-essential retail, including indoor and outdoor markets
- certain leisure and sporting facilities such as gyms, sports courts and facilities, leisure centres, fitness and dance studios, golf courses, swimming pools, riding centres, outdoor playgrounds – subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier. Indoor group activities and classes should not take place at tier 3
- personal care and close contact services such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, massage parlours and tanning salons
Further information on the Tier system can be found here.
Support for the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) (UK-wide)
The Government has announced it is increasing support through the third instalment of the UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, with people receiving 80% of their average trading profits for November. The claims window is now open.
New furloughing information
The Government has extended the furlough scheme for a further five months into Spring 2021. More information can be found here.
Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following grants:
- For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
- For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
Loan schemes application deadlines extended to January 31 2021
The application deadlines for the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Future Fund have been extended until 31 January 2021.
Updated guidance on support available for the self-employed
The guidance for people who are self-employed and getting less work or no work because of coronavirus has been updated, to clarify eligibility conditions for universal credit and new-style employment and support allowance. Also, information on pension credit, new-style jobseeker’s allowance and the test-and-trace support payment (other financial help that can be claimed) has been updated.
Businesses: information and support
Dover District Council has launched a one-stop-shop for getting you safely back to business, once restrictions have been eased.
The Government has announced that, when national lockdown ends on 2nd December 2020, local restrictions across England will be introduced under the Tier system, with rules differing locally, depending on which Tier each area falls under.
Our focus is on continuing to support the local economy, whilst ensuring that the safety of our local communities and our visitors are top priority.
We recognise that the need for continued social distancing, and enhanced hygiene measures, is challenging for many local businesses. If your business is currently closed due to the Tier restrictions that are in place, our Back to Business Hub will help you to find the right support to go back to business safely when you are able to reopen.
Our dedicated hotline is open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
We are working on building a register to help customers find businesses that are open in the district. Please fill in the Back to Business Form if you are interested in being added to our new app.
VisitBritain/VisitEngland launched a recovery webinar programme earlier this year. Drawing on expert insight from within VisitBritain/VisitEngland and across the travel industry, the free webinar programme offers practical advice for tourism businesses and valuable data-led insight from our global teams.
VisitBritain’s second series of Business Recovery webinars are now taking place, with an upcoming session on Creating Great Content (8 December). They’ve also partnered with Google Digital Garage to help you Create Videos with YouTube (3 December), and Find Customers with Google Maps (10 December).
Recordings from previous webinars including Micro-businesses (24 November) are available to watch from this link.
- Read the paper that VisitBritain sent to Cabinet Office on behalf of the tourism industry, detailing how government can help the tourism industry recover from COVID-19.
- This year, MHCLG has been working to ensure local economies are supported to adapt and grow – in line with the levelling up agenda. Every local economy now needs a restart and recovery plan, the government will be feeding into these plans including guidance on how businesses can adapt for opening and public transport networks can be operated. Ambition is to ensure people feel safe returning to work.
- The Government has been looking into how more space can be created in town centres for pedestrians and how to make it easier to cycle to work. They will also work with areas hardest hit to help them recover. Infrastructure projects will also continue where safe to do so.
- In response to a clear ask from the industry, a new industry standard quality mark was launched. The 'Good to go' COVID-19 industry standard and consumer mark is now available to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for businesses, attractions and destinations as well as reassurance to local residents and visitors that clear processes are in place and that as a business you are good to go. For full details and how to apply, please visit the Visit Britain website.
- Travlaw have produced another useful update to help businesses prepare to get back to work.
MPs demand further tourism support
This summer, 85 MPs wrote a joint letter to the Chancellor to express their concern that more needs to be done to support tourism businesses. Specifically, they asked that:
- Business rates relief should be extended up to £150,000
- The Furlough Scheme should be extended beyond the lock-down
- The Furlough Scheme needs to be more flexible
- VAT rebates should be introduced
- Tourism VAT should be cut to 5%
- Tailored support should be available to tourism businesses that are currently missing out.
DDC has issued 1,714 grants totalling over £19.7m to small businesses, and those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. This equates to 85% of all the eligible businesses in the district.
- The Government announced plans for a discretionary fund to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. We're awaiting further detail, but this is likely to include support for businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.
Coronavirus and your business: let us know how you're coping
We know the tourism industry is having a tough time – locally, nationally and internationally - and our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the current situation.
In order that we start planning for the recovery phase, it would help us to understand your current challenges. This short questionnaire, via Survey Monkey, should take no longer than three (3) minutes to complete and your answers will be confidential. Individual company names will not be attributed in any reporting.
Thank you, as ever, for your time and support. We wish you well and look forward to hearing from you.