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COVID-19: Government Updates and Business Support

Our latest TurnerWarran blog post covers the latest government updates from the last few days. This includes:

  • Restarting the housing market
  • The government’s announcement to support businesses through the Trade Credit Insurance Guarantee
  • Government guidance on the businesses that must remain closed and which may open
  • New guidance for spending time outdoors
  • The announcement of Roadmap Task Forces in the government.

Housing Secretary’s Statement On Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Housing Secretary on the government’s response to COVID-19 and the plan to safely restart, reopen and renew the housing market.

When the lockdown was announced in March, we changed the rules so that people could only move home if they thought it was “reasonably necessary”.

That meant that more than 450,000 buyers had to put their plans on hold. And each month 300,000 tenancies come up for renewal as well.

A significant proportion of these will result in people needing to or wanting to move home. The pressure to move for some was becoming acute, with serious legal, financial and health implications.

During an already very difficult time, these people have been stuck in limbo. Now they can carry on with their house moves and add some certainty to their lives.

So, from today:

  • estate agents’ offices can re-open
  • viewings – whether virtual or in person – are permitted
  • show homes can open
  • and removal companies and the other essential parts of the sales and letting process are re-started with immediate effect

For most people moving home is not a luxury. People decide to move home because their personal circumstances change.

View the official government guidance here for more information.

Government To Support Businesses Through Trade Credit Insurance Guarantee

Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen has announced.

Trade Credit Insurance provides cover to hundreds of thousands of business to business transactions, particularly in non-service sectors, such as manufacturing and construction. It Insures suppliers selling goods against the company they are selling to defaulting on payment, giving businesses the confidence to trade with one another, but due to Coronavirus and businesses struggling to pay bills, they risk having credit insurance withdrawn, or premiums increasing to unaffordable levels.

To prevent this from happening, the government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring most of the insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. This will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence as they can trust that they will be protected if a customer defaults on payment. The full details can be viewed here

Closing Certain Businesses And Venues In England

The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can. The strategy sets out a roadmap to easing existing measures in phases and as part of that, we are all advised to follow guidelines to stay alert and safe.

All businesses and venues outlined in the GUIDANCE must not open to the public: failure to follow the law relating to these closures can lead to the individual responsible for the business being issued a prohibition notice, a fixed penalty notice or prosecution.

Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance below. Online retail and click and collect services may continue. Employers who have people in their offices or onsite are advised to ensure that employees can follow the government’s guidelines on working safely.

The table of contents is outlined below, and businesses should refer to this updated guidance.

Find out more at GOV.UK

New Guidance On Spending Time Outdoors

Details on a range of outdoor activities which will be allowed in England from 13 May 2020 subject to social distancing rules. See the full description here

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Safer Public Places – Urban Centres And Green Spaces. Guidance for the owners and operators of urban centres and green spaces to help social distancing.

This guidance provides the owners and operators of public spaces with information and examples of measures that may be undertaken to adapt and manage public spaces to help social distancing. This guidance applies in England only and does not impose any legal obligations.

Government Announces Roadmap Task Forces

Five new ministerial-led task forces have been set up to develop plans for how and when closed sectors can reopen safely, following publication of the UK’s roadmap to rebuild Britain.

Businesses and shops in indoor environments or with closer contact between people, like pubs, hotels, and non-essential retail, will likely have a higher risk of transmission, as is the case with many places of worship.

It is the Government’s ambition to open as many of these other businesses and public places as possible over the coming months when the scientific advice provided allows them to. Similarly, the Government recognises this has been a particularly challenging time for the international aviation industry.

These task forces will be crucial to the reopening of Britain’s economy and each one will lead on developing new COVID-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses, where and when it is safe to do so.

The five new ministerial task forces will look at the following sectors:

  • pubs and restaurants (Department for Business, Energy, and industrial Strategy)
  • non-essential retail (including salons) (Department for Business, Energy, and industrial Strategy);
  • recreation and leisure, including tourism, culture and heritage, libraries, entertainment, and sport (Department for Culture, Media, and Sport)
  • places of worship, including faith, community, and public buildings (Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
  • international aviation, reflecting the unique challenges that sector is facing (Department for Transport)

As part of this science-led approach, each task force will work across Government and engage with key stakeholders in public health, industry, trade unions and devolved administrations to:

  • ensure that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phased approach and public health directions, building on the existing guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input
  • agree and ensure alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance
  • provide key sector stakeholders direct access to Ministers to shape the guidance.

View the full announcement here on the official government site. 

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