White Cliffs Country (the tourism arm of Dover District Council) has taken steps to ensure that tourism businesses within Deal, Dover, Sandwich and the surrounding villages and their 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.
For detailed information and the latest Government updates, please click on the drop-down headings below.
Public health advice
Government updates: National Lockdown (England)
On 4th January the Prime Minister gave a televised address to the nation outlining a national lockdown in England. In summary:
- The Government has instructed people to stay at home and this has been backed up with legislation. The stay-at-home rules came into effect on 5th January.
- People are permitted to leave home for limited reasons, including: shopping for essentials; work (if it is not possible to work from home); exercise or to seek medical assistance.
- Shielding recommences, with those at risk receiving a letter.
- Primary schools, secondary schools and colleges must provide online learning, with only vulnerable children and children of key workers continuing to attend school premises. Nurseries remain open.
For those who are fit and well, the guidance also states that people may exercise in a public outdoor place - alone, with the people they live with, with their support bubble (if they are legally permitted to form one), in a childcare bubble where providing childcare or, when alone, with one person from another household. This should be limited to once per day, and people should not travel outside their local area.
Public outdoor places include:
- Parks, beaches, forests and countryside accessible to the public;
- Public gardens (whether free or via paid entry);
- The grounds of a heritage site;
Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.
- People must not leave their home unless they have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes). If people need to travel, they should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of their village, town or the part of a city where they live – and look to reduce the number of journeys made overall.
- People can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where they first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, they should consider the public health advice in the country being visited.
- People cannot leave their home or the place where they are living for holidays or overnight stays unless they have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not a primary residence.
Businesses and venues which must close
To reduce social contact the National Lockdown regulations require some businesses to close, with restrictions imposed on how certain businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close in England is available here. Tourism-related businesses required to close include:
- hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
- accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.
- leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
- entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks.
- animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves).
- indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
Businesses and venues which can remain open
Other businesses and venues, providing essential goods and services, are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. The full list of business permitted to stay open is available here.
Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance and must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces, unless in exceptional circumstances.
- Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance.
- Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people and in exceptional circumstances.
All businesses and venues that are open are expected to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.
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.
In December 2020 the Government announced the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of April 2021. More information can be found here.
Following the Government’s re-introduction of a National Lockdown in England on 5th January, the Chancellor has announced the following grants for businesses:
- Business Grants
- one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring;
- £594 million discretionary fund also made available, to support other impacted businesses.
The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under;
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000;
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.
Loan schemes application deadlines extended to March 31st 2021
The application deadlines for the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme have been extended until 31st March 2021.
The deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Future Fund is 31st January 2021.
Support available for the self-employed
The guidance for people who are self-employed and getting less work or no work because of coronavirus was updated in November 2020 and clarified eligibility conditions for universal credit and new-style employment and support allowance. Information on pension credit, new-style jobseeker’s allowance and the test-and-trace support payment (other financial help that can be claimed) was also updated at this time.
Businesses: information and support
Government Update 22nd January 2021
New Government guidance is now available on two coronavirus funding schemes for businesses in England - the Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG (Closed) Addendum) and the Closed Business Lockdown Payment.
Tourism and hospitality venues in England that have been required to close, as well as businesses that operate primarily as an in-person venue, but which have been forced to close those services and provide a takeaway-only service instead may be eligible for one or both of these grants. Eligible businesses must occupy property on which they pay business rates and are the ratepayer.
- For those required to close due to the national restrictions beginning 5 January 2021, the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment (CBLP) supports eligible businesses based on the rateable value of the property on the first full day of restrictions.
- Businesses that were open as usual, but then required to close due to national restrictions imposed by government (for each period) may be eligible for the LRSG (Closed) Addendum schemes
- Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, may be eligible for a one-off cash grant of £4,000.
- Business with a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, may be eligible for a one-off cash grant of £6,000.
- Business with a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a one-off cash grant of £9,000.
- From 5 January 2021 onwards
- Between 5 November and 2 December 2020
The grant will be based on the rateable value of the property on the first full day of restrictions.
For national restrictions from 5 January 2021
- Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £2,001 for each 42-day qualifying restrictions period.
- Businesses with a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £3,000 for each 42-day qualifying restrictions period.
- Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £4,500 for each 42-day qualifying restrictions period.
For national restrictions between 5 November and 2 December 2020
- Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,334 for each 28-day qualifying restrictions period.
- Businesses a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, may be eligible for a cash grant of £2,000 for each 28-day qualifying restrictions period.
- Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, may be eligible for a cash grant of £3,000 for each 28-day qualifying restrictions period.
The grants are administered by local councils. Find out more at Dover District Council's website.
Subsidy control and state aid update
The pages listed below have been updated to reflect the following information:
Following the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, there have been no changes to the conditions of this grant scheme. Your local council will set out the eligibility requirements for the scheme. Further guidance will be published in due course.
You can find updated information on grants issued to businesses by Dover District Council here.
Dover District Council has launched a one-stop-shop for getting you safely back to business once restrictions have been eased. 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 national lockdown that is 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.
Please fill in the Back to Business Form if you are interested in being added to our app to help customers find businesses that are open in the district.
Tourism business resources
VisitBritain/VisitEngland have launched a Business Recovery webinar programme. 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 their global teams.
Upcoming sessions in VisitBritain’s current series of Business Recovery webinars can be booked online, with recordings from previous webinars 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.
- 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. The 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 in summer 2020. The 'Good to Go' COVID-19 industry standard and consumer mark is 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 businesses are good to go, once able to reopen. 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.
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.
Government Update 22nd February 2021: Roadmap for easing of restrictions in England
In his statement to the House of Commons on 22 February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- 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 six people or two households as in Step 1, and no indoor mixing will be allowed unless otherwise exempt. Additional premises 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
- 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 six, or with one 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.
- 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, 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:
- Social distancing and face masks
- 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.
- COVID status certification to enable reopening of businesses, mindful of discrimination and privacy
- The return of major events
Further details of business support will come from the Chancellor’s budget next Wednesday. A plan for reacting to local outbreaks will also be published next month, with measures to tackle new variants. He could not rule out implementing restrictions at a local level if required.