Latest information on COVID-19

Covid-19 Business Advice
Covid-19 Business Advice

Covid-19 Business Advice

Visit County Durham Support

Visit County Durham is committed to supporting the county’s business community, and when appropriate, to work closely with Partners to plan for recovery.

 

Partnership Fees Waived
As a show of solidarity and support in the most challenging of times, all Visit County Durham Partner fees will be waived for 2020/21, to ease some of the financial pressure our businesses are currently facing. Please email us if you would like further information >

 

Business Support Campaign
Visit County Durham, Durham County Council and Business Durham are backing the ‘Love Local Business’ campaign in the Northern Echo, Darlington and Stockton Times and the Advertiser series. Featuring print, online and social media, the campaign focuses on helping small, local businesses by offering a free advert. Further details can be found here >

 

Consumer Marketing Campaigns

 

Explore from Your Door is Visit County Durham’s hyperlocal campaign, encouraging residents of the county and neighbouring areas to discover what is on their doorstep, from walks and rides to attractions and activities.

 

Worth the Wait is the regional campaign, aiming to inspire consumers from within the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria to choose the county for a day visit or staycation, in line with current guidance and local measures.

 

Campaign activity supports businesses, puts the county top of consumers’ minds, and inspires visits. For further details and to discuss how to get involved, email: marketing@visitcountydurham.org

 

Help us Save our Industry

By the time the tourism industry opens it will already have lost four months of trading. Social distancing restrictions will limit opportunities to recoup losses, with additional costs of PPE and other measures, and before we know it winter will be upon us again. Our survey work shows that business confidence beyond the summer period plummets and the picture worsens further when looking a year or more ahead. Guaranteed Government support for the industry through the winter, confirmed now, is urgently required. That’s why we are working with Cumbria Tourism and backing a petition calling for this.

 

With your help let’s make this campaign gather national focus and get national support from politicians, industry and visitors.

 

Please can we ask for your help. Will you sign our petition HERE and share the link and our social media posts with your staff, customers. Together let’s make our voices heard and help save businesses, jobs and services. #savetourismjobs

 

Below you will find further business advice information to help you during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Planning and General Guidance

 

Read the latest plans and guidance issued to employers, employees and the self-employed.

 

National Lockdown

On Monday 6th January, the Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown for England. Everyone should follow the new rules now, and they will become law from 00.01 on Wednesday 6 January. The restrictions are expected to last until the middle of February if the situation in hospitals improves.

 

Key points:

  • People will be permitted to leave home for limited reasons, including shopping for essentials, work if you cannot work from home, exercise, or to seek medical assistance
  • People cannot leave their home or the place where they are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not a primary residence.
  • Shielding will begin again, those at risk will receive a letter.
  • Primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges must move to online learning from tomorrow – except for vulnerable children and children of key workers. Nurseries will continue to be open.
  • People can exercise in a public outdoor place alone, with the people they live with, with their support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one), in a childcare bubble where providing childcare or, when alone, with 1 person from another household. Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.
  • The regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services, including: non-essential retail, hospitality venues, accommodation, leisure and sports facilities, entertainment venues, animal and indoor attractions, personal care facilities.

 

Durham County Council has provided an update on changes to their services following the introduction of the national lockdown for England.

 

Leaders of the seven North East England Local Authorities have issued a statement in response to the introduction of a new national lockdown in England.

 

The government has further published detailed guidance for businesses operating in the Visitor Economy.

 
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Test and Trace

 

The NHS Test and Trace service forms a central part of the government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care sector.

 

Legal Obligation to Collect Information

Designated venues in certain sectors must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus and support NHS Test and Trace.

 

Venues in hospitality, the tourism and leisure industry, close contact services and local authority facilities must:

  • ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details
  • keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details
  • keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested
  • display an official NHS QR code poster from 24 September 2020, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details
  • adhere to General Data Protection Regulations

Hospitality venues must also refuse entry to those who refuse to participate.

 

Failure to do any of these requirements will result in fixed penalty fines.

 

NHS COVID-19 App

The app is currently being trialled and will launch on Thursday 24 September in England, including QR check-in at venues.

 

You can get further information and resources to understand what the app does and how to help your visitors use the app.

 

NHS QR Code

You can create a coronavirus NHS QR Code for your venue and get visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive if they are using the NHS COVID-19 app. You should create and display a QR Code if you are:

  • A business, place of worship or community organisation with a physical location that is open to the public
  • An event which is taking place in a physical location

If you have more than one venue, you need to create a separate QR code for each location.

 

NHS QR Code FAQs

 

Guidance for the Workplace

The Department of Health and Social Care has issued guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers.

 
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Health & Safety Guidance

 

Read guidance issued to employers, employees and the self-employed on how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Risk Assessment Tool
The government has produced a new tool to help you carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that should be made. This guidance is only for businesses that can reopen under the current government rules.

 

Safe Reopening Accreditation Schemes
Several organisations such as VisitBritain, UK Hospitality, The AA, Quality in Tourism and World Travel and Tourism Council are developing schemes based on government guidance to help businesses give consumers confidence that tourism businesses are safe to visit again.

We’re Good to Go
The official UK mark from VisitBritain and the UK’s national tourism organisations to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. The scheme is free.

AA COVID Confident
Supported by key industry bodies and open to all hospitality establishments that pass the AA’s stringent criteria. The accreditation will indicate to customers that an establishment has in place the necessary risk assessment, safety measures and staff training to reopen safely, in line with the UK’s respective government guidelines as they are published. The scheme is free.

Quality in Tourism Post COVID-19 Recovery Accreditation
The accreditation is suitable for hospitality operators and accommodation providers who want to provide guests with reassurance of standards. The scheme inspects everything that a business needs to do to be complaint with regulation, committed to quality standards and be safe and clean. Cost from £125 plus VAT.

WTTC Safe Travels Stamp
Introduced by the World Travel & Tourism Council, the Safe Travels stamp can be used by destinations, hotels, restaurants, airlines, tour operators and attractions that have implemented health and hygiene protocols to globalised standards. The scheme is free.

 

Working Safely
The latest information and guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Disposing of Waste
Find out how to dispose of your personal or business waste, including face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE), during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Face Coverings on Public Transport
Face coverings are mandatory for most passengers on public transport. LNER have a dedicated face coverings webpage with more information and suppliers they work with producing face coverings. If you know of a business that should be on this list, please get in touch with LNER

 

Cleaning of non-Healthcare Settings
The government has issued guidance describing the cleaning required, the appropriate disposal of materials, the cleaning of equipment and hard surfaces, and the personal protective equipment (PPE) that should be worn.

 

Keeping Customers Safe
Hospitality Industry Training Ltd has produced a guide to keeping your customers and staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 
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Marketing Tips

 

Read advice on how to adapt your marketing during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Free Advert Opportunity
Newsquest North-East and Yorkshire, the publisher of the Northern Echo, Darlington and Stockton Times and the Advertiser series has launched a new campaign ‘Love Local Business’. As part of the campaign local businesses are being offered the opportunity to have a free advert.

 

Online Training and Webinars
A wide range of training resources and webinars is available in our Training and Webinars section.

 

Google
Resources and insights to help your business through coronavirus.

 

 
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Places to Visit Guidance

 

Information and advice for Places to Visit to help businesses and organisations prepare to welcome visitors again.

 

General Guidance

National restrictions apply in England 6 January should stay at home where possible and should only travel to work if they cannot work from home.

Under these restrictions, some heritage locations can be visited for the purposes of daily exercise in a public outdoor place, but this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area. These include historic parks, gardens and landscapes and ruins, and monuments open to the elements, even where entry is paid for.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people, you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household - Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household

Roofed and enclosed historic buildings must be closed, although any grounds including car parks, toilets, and outdoor playgrounds can remain open. Visitors should not travel outside of their local area and must comply with social contact restrictions.

 

Further guidance can be found here:

Safe Reopening Accreditation Schemes
Several organisations such as VisitBritain, UK Hospitality, The AA, and Quality in Tourism have developed schemes based on government guidance to help businesses give themselves and customers confidence that they are safe to visit again.

We’re Good to Go
The official UK mark from VisitBritain and the UK’s national tourism organisations to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. The scheme is free.

AA COVID Confident
Supported by key industry bodies and open to all hospitality establishments that pass the AA’s stringent criteria. The accreditation will indicate to customers that an establishment has in place the necessary risk assessment, safety measures and staff training to reopen safely, in line with the UK’s respective government guidelines as they are published. The scheme is free.

Quality in Tourism Post COVID-19 Recovery Accreditation
The accreditation is suitable for hospitality operators and accommodation providers who want to provide guests with reassurance of standards. The scheme inspects everything that a business needs to do to be complaint with regulation, committed to quality standards and be safe and clean. Cost from £125 plus VAT.

 

Research
The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) commissioned Decision House to undertake a public attitude survey designed to monitor how potential visitors are feeling about returning to visitor attractions when the re-open. ALVA has made the results of this work available to all:
Visitor Sentiment First Wave 30th April 2020
Visitor Sentiment Second Wave 22nd May 2020
Visitor Sentiment Third Wave 19th June 2020
Visitor Sentiment Fourth Wave 17th July 2020

 

Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations
Coronavirus related support:

 
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Activities Guidance

 

Information and advice for Activity providers operating in a Tier 4 Stay at Home area.

 

Businesses are advised to read the latest Tier 4 Restrictions and guidelines for businesses operating in the Visitor Economy.

 

Guided Tours

Indoor venues and attractions will be closed. Guided tours should not take place in Tier 4 areas.

 

Coach Tours

Coach tours must not take place in Tier 4 areas.

 

Grass Roots Sport and Leisure Facilities

Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts and indoor fitness and dance studios must close within Tier 4 areas.

 

 
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Retail Guidance

 

Information and advice for retail businesses to help prepare to welcome customers again.

 

General Guidance

From 6 January, a national lockdown applies in all of England. You can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home.

Non-essential retail is required to close, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods.

Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. Essential retail includes food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences, as well as market stalls selling essential retail.

Banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses are also permitted to stay open.

 

Further information can be found in the guidance for shops and branches.

 

Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations
Coronavirus related support:

 
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Food & Drink Guidance

 

Information and advice for Food & Drink businesses to help prepare to welcome customers again.

 

General Guidance

From 6 January, a national lockdown applies in all of England. You can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home.

Hospitality venues are required to close, including cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs.

This is with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.

 

Further information can be found in the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.

 

Safe Reopening Accreditation Schemes

Several organisations such as VisitBritain, UK Hospitality, The AA, and Quality in Tourism have developed schemes based on government guidance to help businesses give themselves and customers confidence that they are safe to visit again.

The official UK mark from VisitBritain and the UK’s national tourism organisations to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. The scheme is free.

Supported by key industry bodies and open to all hospitality establishments that pass the AA’s stringent criteria. The accreditation will indicate to customers that an establishment has in place the necessary risk assessment, safety measures and staff training to reopen safely, in line with the UK’s respective government guidelines as they are published. The scheme is free.

The accreditation is suitable for hospitality operators and accommodation providers who want to provide guests with reassurance of standards. The scheme inspects everything that a business needs to do to be complaint with regulation, committed to quality standards and be safe and clean. Cost from £125 plus VAT.

 

Re-opening and Adapting your Food Business

The Food Standards Agency has published guidance on reopening and adapting food businesses during COVID-19.

 

Restaurants Offering Takeaway and/or Delivery

Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.

 

Advice for Food & Drink Businesses

Visit County Durham has put together some guidance for Food & Drink businesses.

 

Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations

Coronavirus related support:

 
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Accommodation Guidance

 

Information and advice for Accommodation businesses to help prepare to welcome visitors again.

 

General Guidance

From 6 January, a national lockdown applies in all of England. You can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home.

Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.

Restaurants and bars within guest accommodation should remain closed although food and/or drink including alcohol can be provided through room service as long as it is ordered by phone or online. Communal spaces such as lounges or lobbies may remain open to guests, but no food or drink should be served in these spaces, people should be encouraged not to gather, and social distancing should be observed.

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed - including holidays in the UK and abroad. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, or people staying with anyone they do not live with or are not in a support bubble with. There are specific exceptions, for example if people need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work or education purposes.

When travel is necessary and staying in hotels and other guest accommodation required, we expect people to act responsibly, in line with government regulations and guidance. Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing.

 

Further information can be found in the guidance for Hotels and Other Guest Accommodation.

 

Business Interruption Insurance

The High Court handed down its judgment in the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA)’s business interruption insurance test case. The Court found in favour of the arguments advanced for policyholders by the FCA on the majority of the key issues. An appeal has been lodged.

 

Re-opening Guidelines

 

Risk Assessment Tool

 

Safe Reopening Accreditation Schemes

Several organisations such as VisitBritain, UK Hospitality, The AA, and Quality in Tourism have developed schemes based on government guidance to help businesses give themselves and customers confidence that they are safe to visit again.

The official UK mark from VisitBritain and the UK’s national tourism organisations to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. The scheme is free.

Supported by key industry bodies and open to all hospitality establishments that pass the AA’s stringent criteria. The accreditation will indicate to customers that an establishment has in place the necessary risk assessment, safety measures and staff training to reopen safely, in line with the UK’s respective government guidelines as they are published. The scheme is free.

The accreditation is suitable for hospitality operators and accommodation providers who want to provide guests with reassurance of standards. The scheme inspects everything that a business needs to do to be complaint with regulation, committed to quality standards and be safe and clean. Cost from £125 plus VAT.

 

Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations

Additional Coronavirus related support is available from:

 
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Legal Guidance

 

Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations
Coronavirus related support for specific Sectors:

 

 
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Transport

 

Information from transport operators.

 

Christmas Travel Measures

The Department for Transport has announced the government’s plans to help minimise disruption and help people, if they need to, travel safely over the Christmas period.

Key messages:

  • Between 23 and 27 December, you may travel between tiers and other nations of the UK if necessary, to meet with your Christmas bubble.
  • Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December.
  • As people consider whether to travel to see loved ones over the Christmas period, be prepared that journeys may be busier than usual.
  • Whatever way you travel, you should plan your journey carefully, book ahead, consider quieter routes and be prepared for journeys to take longer than normal.
  • When travelling, sanitise your hands regularly, wear a face covering unless exempt, and maintain social distancing.
  • If you are driving, avoid sharing a car with people not in your household, Christmas or support bubble. Plan ahead and check your route before you travel.
  • Follow the local restrictions at your location for the Christmas period. 

 

Safer Travel Guidance for Passengers

Rules and advice on safe travelling during the coronavirus pandemic. Guidance includes social distancing, the use of face coverings, sharing private vehicles, and public transport.

 

Coronavirus Travel Corridors

The government maintains a list of countries, territories and regions from where people can travel to England and may not have to self-isolate.

It is important to stay up to date with this information so you are aware of any requirements of guests arriving from abroad that may need to self-isolate.

 

Durham City Park and Ride

Park and Ride services at Belmont, Howlands and Sniperley are running regularly with a range of measures in place for passenger and driver safety.

 

LNER

Get the latest safe travelling information from LNER.

 

Go North East

Get the latest GO North East travel information and advice.

 
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Fraud and Scam Protection

 

Scam Warnings

Covid-19 Vaccine

Please be aware of a fake NHS text that has been circulating, advising people that they are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. The link takes you to a false NHS website that asks for various personal details – the NHS will never ask for your bank details.

 

Covid-19 Scam

Beware of a new Covid scam on social media offering £25 to say how you have coped during Covid-19. Often claiming to be council approved, the survey asks for personal information including your bank details, D.O.B and N.I. number. These details are then used to commit fraud.

 

Tax

Self-Assessment customers are being warned about scammers posing as HMRC - criminals take advantage of the Self-Assessment deadline to panic customers into sharing their personal or financial details and even paying bogus ‘tax due’. The annual tax return deadline is on 31 January 2021.

 

DVLA

The scams ask drivers to verify their driving licence details, offer vehicle tax refunds, highlight a failed vehicle tax payment and ask for bank details.

 

Cyber Crime Awareness

Cyber Crime is a serious threat. During the festive period last year, victims lost an average of £775 each. The National Cyber Security Centre recommends six steps to stay safe:

  • Use a strong password for each account you have, especially your email. If a hacker gets into your email account, they could access sensitive information – your email should have a different password to any other account.
  • When creating a password, it is recommended that you use three random words. You can use numbers and symbols as well, e.g. RedPantsTree4!
  • With so many accounts to keep track of, remembering your password isn’t always easy. The best way to safely ensure you remember your password is to save it in your browser.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA). This helps to stop hackers from getting into your account even if they have your password.
  • Update your apps and devices. When your apps and devices are out of date, they have higher risk of having weaknesses within them. This makes it easier for hackers to get your information.
  • Back up your data. This creates a copy of your information and saves it to another device or to cloud storage (online).

Scam Warnings
Tax
Self-Assessment customers are being warned about scammers posing as HMRC - criminals take advantage of the Self-Assessment deadline to panic customers into sharing their personal or financial details and even paying bogus ‘tax due’. The annual tax return deadline is on 31 January 2021.


DVLA
The scams ask drivers to verify their driving licence details, offer vehicle tax refunds, highlight a failed vehicle tax payment and ask for bank details.

 

Scam Prevention Further Information