In response to the resurgence of coronavirus, the Prime Minister has announced plans for a return to national lockdown in England.
These were presented to Parliament on 02 November. They will be discussed on 04 November and – if approved – implemented from 05 November to 02 December, initially.
Beyond that point it is intended to return to the established local “tiering” system, assuming that the virus threat has abated. If not, national lockdown may continue.
Plans are slightly less restrictive than the previous lockdown in Spring, especially regarding education and childcare.
However, citizens will still be required to stay at home unless they are involved in exempt activities, which are as follows:
- Construction and manufacturing
- Essential retail (eg: food and drink)
- Foodservice takeaway and click-and-collect
- Medical and caring tasks
- Outdoor exercise (with limitations)
- Public services
- Work that cannot be done from home
For food and drink businesses, the key point is that hospitality and “sit-down” foodservice will close once more.
The economic impact of a second lockdown will likely damp-down retail demand into the far future and make EU Exit still harder to deal with.
To help cushion the impact of the new lockdown, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – which was to be replaced with a less generous scheme - will be extended into December. The planned replacement, the Job Support Scheme, has been postponed.
The Self Employment Income Support Scheme has been revised, making it much more generous. The payment will be equivalent of 55% of usual trading profits for November 2020 to January 2021 (up from 40% initially promised).
Deadlines to apply for other business support schemes have also been extended, including the Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.
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