Latest information on COVID-19

COVID-19 Business Hub
COVID-19 Business Hub

COVID-19 Business Hub

Latest information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced the government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England. The ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ document outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of the previous step. This assessment will be based on four tests:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern

This means that any dates given as part of the roadmap are indicative and could be pushed back depending on progress against the four tests.

All being well, Step 1 will start on 8 March; Step 2 no earlier than 12 April; Step 3 no earlier than 17 May; and Step 4 no earlier than 21 June. You can see a simplified table of the steps on pages 47-48 of the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ document.


Please remember, England is still in a national lockdown. You must stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and follow the rules in the National Lockdown guidance. You should refer to the closures guidance for the latest rules for closing certain businesses and venues in England.


Latest Statement from Regional Leaders

Leaders from the seven local authorities in North East England call for more support while welcoming a cautious approach to the easing of lockdown.


Durham Business Recovery Grant

To support local businesses in looking forward and meeting the challenge of recovery, Durham County Council has introduced a £5 million Durham Business Recovery Grant. Open to businesses in all sectors located in the County, the grant is aimed at those with a credible plan to adapt and recover from the effects of COVID-19 but requiring financial support to implement their plan.

The grants range from a minimum of £1,000 up to a maximum of £40,000 and are able to contribute 75% towards eligible recovery plan costs, with the business expected to meet a quarter of the project cost.

The grants are not intended to provide crisis funding, general working capital or subsidise losses but can be used towards costs such as adapting operational models and working practices, adapting premises or business models to attract new customers or visitors, developing and marketing new product offerings or other relevant costs to meet a defined need that will help to increase sales.

There is no time limit or closing date for applications, so we strongly advise you take your time in understanding the eligibility criteria and thinking about what you need prior to beginning the application process.


Update from Michelle Gorman, Managing Director, Visit County Durham

Despite starting 2021 with another devastating national lockdown, I am still confident that as the year progresses, the county’s visitor economy will recover and prosper. When lockdown is lifted, families and loved ones will want to reconnect, and as a county with wide open spaces, crowd free beauty spots and businesses that hold covid-safe accreditations, Durham is best placed to capitalise on the demand for the ‘safecation’.
Until then, Visit County Durham is committed to continuing to support businesses during this incredibly challenging time. Access the Visit County Durham Covid-19 Business Hub for information and support, or email


Visit County Durham’s virtual ‘Tourism of the Future’ Autumn Conference was held on Wednesday 4th November 2020. The conference heard from Foresight Factory on future tourism trends, UKHospitality on current impacts of the pandemic and the latest industry lobbying of government, and an update from Visit County Durham. Download the presentations from the conference.


Latest information and announcements

We would advise all partners to regularly check this website and the VisitBritain and Government business support web pages, all of which are being continually updated with the latest advice and information for all tourism businesses.


The latest VCD Grapevine COVID-19 Business Support e-news


Latest announcements:

26 February


  • VisitEngland has announced that the ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard has been recognised by the World Travel & Tourism Council as meeting its global standardised health and hygiene protocols and for its role in supporting the recovery of the UK tourism sector. From today, We’re Good To Go registered businesses in the UK can log into their online account to download the Safe Travels stamp.  Any business not already part of We’re Good To Go can apply to the scheme through the usual process and indicate within that application their wish to use the additional global WTTC stamp.

25 February


  • The government has published its latest round of business grants data showing the government funding delivered to each council in England to support their local businesses.


  • Following the publishing of the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ document setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown in England, the government has released the official guidance on reopening businesses and venues in England.

24 February


23 February


  • The Prime Minister has announced the government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England.
  • The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ which sets out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. In addition to the roadmap, four formal reviews will also take place concerning social distancing and face masks; the resumption of international travel; COVID status certification to enable reopening of businesses; and the return of major events.
  • In March, a plan for reacting to local outbreaks and measures to tackle new variants will be published.


22 February


  • The Prime Minister will today set out the government’s roadmap for cautiously easing lockdown restrictions in England. Cabinet will meet virtually this morning to discuss the plan, the Prime Minister will give a statement to Parliament in the afternoon, and host a televised press conference in the evening.

16 February


  • From Monday 15 February, anyone who has visited a country on the UK’s travel ban ‘red list’ will have to enter England through a designated port and have pre-booked a quarantine package to stay at one of the government’s managed quarantine facilities. Anyone arriving in England who has not visited a red list country must still quarantine for 10 days at home.

12 February


Catch up on previous annnouncements

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