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

From today (19 July 2021), England moves to Step 4 of the Roadmap. The key changes for Step 4 are:

  • Legal restrictions can be lifted, all businesses can open, and the government is no longer instructing people to work from home.
  • To support businesses through this next phase, the ‘Working Safely’ guidance will continue to provide advice on sensible precautions employers can take to manage risk and support their staff and customers.
  • You should use the guidance to consider the risk within your premises and decide which mitigations are appropriate to adopt.
  • Social distancing guidance will no longer apply. This means that you do not need to implement social distancing in your business, workplace or venue, and customers and workers do not need to keep apart from people they don’t live with.

However, the Government advises that the pandemic is not over. Cases are increasing rapidly, and a third wave is underway. Step 4 does not mark the end of the need for caution and restraint. At Step 4, while many of the legal restrictions that the Government has imposed through the pandemic will be lifted, cautious guidance will remain, making it clear this is not yet a return to normal. While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.


Latest Statement from LA7 Leaders

The latest statement from the seven local authorities in North East England asks us all to play a part in keeping the region safe as restrictions are lifted.


Update from Michelle Gorman, Managing Director, Visit County Durham

This week sees the reopening of many more tourism businesses across the county, as England successfully reaches the third stage in the roadmap out of lockdown. We would like to send a message of good luck to those businesses, who have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure they can welcome customers back safely. Visit County Durham is committed to supporting businesses as we progress along the road to recovery. By working in partnership, we are confident that the county’s visitor economy can emerge even stronger. 

Access the Visit County Durham Covid-19 Business Hub for information and support, or email


Find out more about the work undertaken by Visit County Durham during the last year throughout the pandemic.


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:

23 July 


  • The list of sectors whose workers may be exempt from COVID isolation has been released by ministers this morning.
  • The Government has launched a new campaign to encourage people in England to continue to wear face coverings in crowded public spaces, to make sure rooms are well ventilated and to take up the offer of twice-weekly free testing.
  • The Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, updated Parliament on the NHS COVID Pass and vaccine effectiveness. The Pass was rolled out this week for domestic use to allow people to demonstrate their COVID status (including vaccination status, test results or natural immunity). Businesses in England can adopt the pass as a means of entry where suitable for their venue or premises where they can see its potential to keep their clients/customers safe.
  • New guidance has been published on coronavirus (COVID-19) measures for grassroots sport participants, providers and facility operators in England.

22 July


  • As part of the move to step 4 in England on 19 July, guidance has been updated on when to wear face coverings. Whilst there is no longer a legal requirement to wear one in indoor settings or on public transport, people are expected and recommended to continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet. Businesses, including transport operators, can also ask their employees and customers to wear face coverings.
  • Guidance to accompany the pavement licence provisions has been updated to note that where licences are deemed to have been granted, to allow these licences to remain in place for a year but not beyond up to 30 September 2022.

21 July


  • Existing guidance applying to local areas with additional  COVID-19 measures in place has been updated, including the removal of advice to keep 2 metres apart and minimise travel into and out of the areas, but local residents are urged to remain cautious and follow the national guidance – currently no councils in North East England are affected. In these areas, government is providing a support package including the option to deliver extra testing within targeted areas, the provision of logistical support to maximise vaccine and testing uptake, further help for local campaigns and the option to work with secondary schools and colleges to temporarily reintroduce on site testing and proportionate use of face coverings in areas of high prevalence. Areas that have recently started to receive this support package will continue to do so for five weeks, and those that have been receiving it for longer will be reviewed.
  • As part of the move to step 4 in England, advice for pregnant employees has been updated.

20 July



19 July



  • Today, England moves to Step 4 of the roadmap with most restrictions on businesses being lifted. However, the government is advising employers to still take reasonable steps to keep staff and customers safe.
  • Durham County Council has updated information on accessing and using key services following changes to COVID restrictions today -  the Council is encouraging and recommending members of the public to continue to wear face coverings, unless exempt, in all council buildings and venues to protect each other and staff, helping to reduce the spread of coronavirus and enable the continuing provision of services for those who need them most.
  • Actions that drivers, operators and owners of taxis or private hire vehicles (PHVs) can take to protect against coronavirus have been amended following changes to rules on face coverings and social distancing to reflect Step 4 of roadmap out of lockdown.
  • Anyone arriving from France to England must continue to quarantine for 10 days at home or in other accommodation, even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • VisitEngland is working in partnership with the Caterer to deliver a staffing summit webinar on Thursday 22 July. The summit will explore how the industry can better promote the career options available in the sector and highlight the organisations that can assist businesses in finding new recruits. This webinar will be dedicated to equipping operators with the tools to attract new employees and revealing ways to keep staff in long-term sustainable careers. You can register for free here.

16 July


  • Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme mean that from 1 August 2021, the government will pay 60% of wages for furlough employees up to £1,875.
  • new video is available about what you can do to prepare a claim for the fifth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant.


Catch up on previous annnouncements

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