Scotland situation update and further re-opening and easing of restrictions

13 Jul 2020

Scotland situation update and further re-opening and easing of restrictions

·       Due to the outbreak of the virus in Annan and Gretna. The advice and guidance to people in the areas of Annan, Gretna, Dumfries, Lockerbie, Langholm and Canonbie is to continue to follow the five-mile travel restriction over the weekend until the testing and contact tracing process has been completed and the government are able to assess if the outbreak has indeed been contained. Particular postcodes will be published that this guidance applies to on social media later. A further update will be provided on Monday.

·       Outdoor hospitality, such as pavement cafes and beer gardens, can re-open from Monday 6 July.  And although tourism will not open fully until 15 July, self-contained holiday accommodation – for example holiday cottages, lodges or caravans with no shared facilities - can reopen from tomorrow, 3 July.

·       From 3 July the Scottish government will lift the guidance advising people to travel no more than five miles for leisure purposes (see exception above).

·       Advice will be published on 2 July on physical distancing that the Government has received from their scientific advisory group. This advice makes clear that the science on physical distancing has not changed. As the distance between people decreases, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 increases. We will allow exemptions for specific sectors where agreed mitigations must be put in place.

·       The expected start of phase 3 will be 10 July

·       Wearing face coverings will be mandatory in shops.


Timetable for phased reopening of tourism sector in Wales

International Relations Minister Eluned Morgan today said:

·       Wales’ hospitality sector will prepare to re-open outdoors from 13 July

·       The first phase of a planned reopening includes bars, restaurants and cafes with outdoor spaces  

·       If the requirement to stay local is lifted in Wales on 6 July, outdoor visitor attractions will also be able to reopen from Monday.

·       This is all subject to the next review of the coronavirus regulations on 9 July when the final decision will be made about outdoor re-opening. It will depend on whether rates of coronavirus are continuing to fall. 

·       Subject to the review, the Minister confirmed the date that owners of self-contained accommodation can accept bookings is being brought forward to 11 July from 13 July, to help with the pattern of Saturday-to-Saturday bookings.

·       Future decisions about indoor re-opening will be made later and will depend on the success of the first phase of outdoor opening.


Other Government updates

·       New examples for how a business could be adversely affected by coronavirus have been added to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim page.

·       Funding allocations are available to view for emergency active travel schemes for local authorities in the region of the United Kingdom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

·       Major new support package to help councils respond to coronavirus has been announced.

·       The Department for International Trade  is reviewing how best to model trade impacts to support its trade negotiation capability, consulting with a panel of academics

·       An update has been made to the advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents page on the biometric information process

Advice for Heritage Railways on face coverings 

·       The current legislation on the wearing of face coverings on public transport states that a face masks should be worn on any service for the carriage of passengers from place to place which is available to the general public (whether or not payment is required for this service). These regulations include heritage rail, as these trains transport people from place to place and are available to the general public on purchase of a ticket; and the exemptions in the legislation do not apply in this context. The reason for this measure is that trains are enclosed spaces where the risk of transmission is high, and therefore wearing masks could improve the protections for passengers and employees.

·       There are, however, several caveats to the regulations. For example, if there are separate berths for individuals/families/bubbles, it may be acceptable to remove masks while passengers are in that accommodation alone or with members of their household/a linked household, provided safety of passengers can be assured. A heritage train with “corridor coaches” (where a corridor leads to several compartments) may be able to take advantage of this exemption provided that a compartment is occupied only with persons from the same or linked households. 

·       Additionally, the legislation states that masks may be removed "if it is reasonably necessary to eat or drink". Organisations will need to fully consider if the nature of the train journeys they are providing would fall within the spirit of this caveat.  Any measures put in place to ensure the safety of passengers should be taken following a risk assessment


Latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker report – Week 6, 22-26 June 2020

·       The latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker from VisitBritain is available on our website, covering the period 22-26 June 2020. Some key updates from this week’s report:

·       The national mood edges up by +0.1 to 6.7/10, lifted by slightly more describing their mood within the 9-10 range (19% versus 15% last week).

·       However, fewer people compared to last week believe the ‘worst has passed’ (27% ) regarding Covid-19 while more consider the ‘worst is yet to come’ (35%) which are -3% and +2% respectively versus week 5.

·       There continues to be little expectation things will be returning to normal anytime soon, with slightly fewer expecting ‘normality’ by September (17% versus 18% last week).  Extending the period to December also exhibits a decline in expectations of ‘normality’ (39% compared to 41% in week 5).

·       Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score continues to inch up, currently standing at 2.38/4.  Levels of comfort are clearly related with proximity to people, with travelling on public transport remaining the activity people are least comfortable doing in the current circumstances.

·       Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday is beginning to exhibit some improvement compared to last week, at 14% for July (+2%), 29% in August (+4%) and 43% by September (+3%).

·       The main reasons cited among those lacking confidence have tended to be led by structural limitations such as having ‘fewer opportunities to eat or drink out’ or ‘restrictions on travel imposed by government’ (45%).  These remain key, but have been overtaken this week by ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’.

·       When asked to compare to last year, 39% of U.K. adults expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and holidays respectively.  These proportions remain stable week-on-week.

·       The proportion expecting to go on a domestic short break or holiday by this September increased by a significant margin this week, to 24% (versus 20% in week 5).

·       In terms of region/nation likely to be visited between now and September, the South West continues to dominate with 20% of those intending to go on a domestic trip during this period citing this as their destination. followed by Scotland at 13%.  The South West and Scotland also lead for visits planned to be taken from October onwards.

·       For the summer period, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations continue to lead with 34% and 33% shares respectively.  Cities again receive a greater proportion of trips scheduled from October onwards, but continues to be ranked third.

·       For the June-September period, there remains a broadly even split between the leading four accommodation types, although from October, hotels/motels/inns and commercial rentals (such as holiday apartments or cottages) are exhibit stronger preference.

·       Of the reassurances people are seeking in order to feel comfortable staying in a hotel, measures to encourage social distancing narrowly leads over measures to reduce contamination (e.g. hand sanitisers and enhanced cleaning regimes).  Offering free cancellations also remains important, being the second most cited reason.

·       As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.


Travel updates

·       British Airways will expand its flight schedule in July, albeit offering fewer frequencies, resuming domestic flights between London and Belfast, Inverness, Jersey, Manchester, Newcastle and Newquay as well as double daily services to Glasgow and Edinburgh. BA will also resume more short haul routes throughout Europe and a small number of its normal long haul routes.

·       Commercial flights have resumed this week at Norwich Airport, and Cornwall Airport Newquay will reopen on Saturday 4 July.

·       New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) indicates that even modest increases in international tourism will provide a massive economic boost. For every additional 1 million international arrivals (including within the EU), an estimated £380,000,000 in GDP will be generated.

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