The North East LEP area (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Sunderland) is currently at tier 2 (high) of the government’s local COVID alert levels.
This means additional restrictions are in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
What are the new rules around meetings friends and family?
You must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
You can meet in groups of up to six from different households anywhere outside, including in private gardens, parks, beaches and outdoor hospitality areas such as beer gardens.
You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law).
How do tier 2 rules impact North East businesses?
Businesses selling food or drink: cafes; bars; pubs and restaurants; social clubs; casinos; bowling alleys; amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities); funfairs; theme parks and adventure parks and activities; and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am.
This includes takeaways but delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through can continue after 10pm.
Registered tradespeople can go to work in homes as long as they follow guidance on how to work safely.
Is there financial support available for businesses impacted by tier 2 restrictions?
Yes. Open businesses that are experiencing considerable difficulty will be given extra help to keep staff on. The Job Support Scheme will help businesses facing decreased demand through the JSS Open scheme and businesses legally required to close through JSS Closed scheme. More information is available here.
Cash grants of up to £2,100 per month have also been made available - primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector - who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas.
How do tier 2 restrictions impact employees across the region?
COVID-secure workplaces are not affected by the ban on gathering in groups larger than 6 people in indoor settings.
People living inside and outside of the affected areas can continue to travel in and out for work. However, to help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home are being advised to do so over the winter.
Is there any further financial support available for the self-employed?
Yes. Government will provide two taxable Self-employed Income Support Scheme grants to support those experiencing reduced demand due to COVID-19, but are continuing to trade, or temporarily cannot trade.
Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering 3 months – November 2020-January 2021, and February-April 2021. The government will pay a taxable grant which is calculated based on 40% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £3,750. The government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.
Which businesses must collect customer, visitor, and staff data to support NHS Test and Trace?
Businesses in the following sectors, whether indoor or outdoor venues or mobile settings, must request contact details from staff, customers and visitors, and display the official NHS QR code poster:
- Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
- Tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades
- Close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
- Community centres, libraries and village halls
Do tier two restrictions have an impact on education settings?
Schools, colleges, and universities can remain open.
Are there any restrictions on travel in the region?
You can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
You should continue to:
- Wear a face covering in these indoor settings.
- Follow social distancing rules.
- Work from home where you can effectively do so.
- Walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.