Daily Government press briefing

10 Jun 2020

Daily Government press briefing

Yesterday’s briefing was led by Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Sarah Albon, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Sharma confirmed that retail outlets that have previously been closed will be permitted to open from next Monday 15 June. Businesses will need to complete a Covid-secure risk assessment and are asked to display publicly a sign confirming that they are compliant with health and safety guidance. Further guidance for hospitality businesses such as restaurants and pubs will be published as soon as possible, and the Government continues working towards 4 July 2020 as a target date to reopen the hospitality and service sectors.

This week, Sharma will lead five roundtable sessions with representatives from the five business-focused working groups to engage with the business community and discuss plans for economic recovery.

Q&A:

  • The first question was about when people can book domestic holidays, including camping and self-catering. Sharma said that the economy would be reopening in a phased, careful manner and reiterated the date of 4 July at the earliest.
  • Sharma said that the further guidance would be published in advance of 4 July in order to give businesses time to prepare.
  • Sharma was asked about possibly changing from 2m to 1m social distancing in order to help hospitality businesses. He said that the 2m had been recommended by SAGE, and would be kept under review. He recognised that some countries had reduced to 1m but said they were further along in their reopening.
  • Responding to a question on levelling up, the Business Secretary said he did not want to pre-empt any future announcements but that the Government was still committed to the levelling up agenda.

 

You can watch the full briefing here.

 

 

 

UK Visa and Immigration services enter second phase of reopening on 22 June

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) began a phased reopening of a limited number of visa application centres (VACs) and immigration services on 1 June. An additional number of VACs will open on 22 June, where local conditions allow. Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Services will reopen in phases. Where services are resuming, existing customers will be contacted.

Visa customers and British nationals overseas who want to apply for a passport can find a VAC in their country, or check the status of VACs outside of the UK here:

·     TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East

·     VFS global for all other countries

Visa applicants in the UK can check the status of VACs and available services near them.

Find further guidance on applying for a visa or passport during the pandemic.

 

Self-isolation rules specific to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Guidance on the new border rules has been updated to reflect that travellers are subject to different self-isolation rules and penalties depending on whether they are travelling to:

 

Industry updates

  • Vacation Rentals, the parent company of brands including Hoseasons and Cottages.com, is now offering refunds for cancelled bookings following an announcement from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that it would start investigating cancellations and refunds in the holiday accommodation sector.
  • Ryanair is waving change fees for all flights booked in July or August this year. Customers will be able to exchange for flights departing through 31 December 2020.
  • Cunard has cancelled all sailings for the ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria through 1 November, and for the ship Queen Elizabeth through 23 November.
  • Austrian Airlines has secured a €600 million rescue package from the Austrian national government and the Lufthansa Group.
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