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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin

24 November 2020

PM's statement on the Government's winter Covid-19 Plan

The Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Boris Johnson gave a statement to the House of Commons on Monday 23 November 2020 outlining the Government’s winter Covid-19 plan. The COVID-19 Winter Plan sets out how national restrictions will be lifted in England on 2 December, with England moving back into a regional, tiered approach.  

On 2 December, across all of England, regardless of tier: 

  • the stay-at-home requirement will end, with travel being permitted again subject to guidance in each tier 
  • shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector will reopen 
  • collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume 
  • people will no longer be limited to seeing only one other person in outdoor public spaces - the rule of 6 will now apply outdoors as it did in the previous set of tiers. 

Everyone who can work from home should do so. Where people cannot do so – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. 

A summary of local restrictions, including what you can and cannot do in each tier, is available here, including information for businesses and venues.  

On Thursday 26 November the government will announce which areas are in which tier. The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December. 

The PM's statement can be found here. Winter Plan summary is here.  

Tier Posters- Medium, High and very High: For a series of posters displaying information about the various tiers of restrictions in England from 2 December 2020 click posters 


New Guidance

Local restriction tiers: What you need to know: Guidance that sets out the local restriction tier system that will be in place from Wednesday 2 December, including what you can and cannot do in each tier is available here

Homecare workers to be tested weekly: Care workers looking after people in their own homes will be offered weekly coronavirus tests. Care providers will be able to book tests for their staff online from Monday 23 November. Agency managers should order tests every 28 days for their homecare workers; 4 tests are delivered for each homecare worker to the agency, for a 28-day testing cycle. More information on the testing service, click here

Pay VAT deferred: You can pay now or get ready to opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme. If you deferred VAT between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can: 

  • pay the deferred VAT in full on or before 31 March 2021; 
  • opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme when it launches in 2021; 
  • contact HMRC if you need more help to pay. 

Check how you can pay your deferred VAT

If you want to opt in to the new payment scheme: You cannot opt in yet. The online opt in process will be available in early 2021. You must opt in yourself; your agent cannot do this for you. 

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make up to 11 smaller monthly instalments, interest free. All instalments must be paid by the end of March 2022. For more on the opt in paying system check here 

Consensus statement emphasises importance of covid-19-secure workplace: Public Health England (PHE), Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) have issued a consensus statement on the best approach to reduce occupational risk for workers including those of ethnic minority groups. Further details here.