Covid news and updates

03 August 2021 - Changes to Covid restrictions

Due to declining Covid cases and the continued success of the vaccination programme, the First Minister has confirmed that Scotland will move beyond Level 0 from Monday 9 August.

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29 July 2021 - Latest changes to Scotland inbound travel from the US and EU

On the afternoon of 28 July 2021 the Scottish Government announced that fully vaccinated people from the EU and US will be able to travel to Scotland without quarantining from Monday 2 August 2021.

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13 July 2021 - First Minister's statement on Covid restrictions

The First Minister has today (Tuesday 13 July) set out the next phase of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

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24 June 2021 - Scottish Government's plan for removal of restrictions

The Scottish Government has outlined their planned removal of all major legal Covid restrictions, providing a guideline of Monday 9 August as the date that this will occur.

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03 June 2021 - Scottish Government's Covid-19 update

The First Minister has today confirmed which levels of restrictions different local authorities will move to from midnight this Friday 04 June.

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21 May 2021 - Covid levels and travel restrictions update

The Scottish Government have today announced that Moray will move down to Level 2 Covid-19 restrictions, in line with the majority of mainland Scotland. Glasgow City is to remain in Level 3.

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18 May 2021 - Covid-19: Level 2 restrictions

The Scottish Government have announced the continued easing of lockdown restrictions, with the majority of mainland Scotland moving to Level 2 from 17th May. Due to low Covid-19 cases, the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland and remote Highland and Argyll islands will move directly to Level 1. Due to its tie to the mainland, Skye will stay in Level 2.

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17 May 2021 – Moray Local Restrictions Grant

Following the announcement that Moray will stay under Level-3 Covid-19 restrictions from 17 May, the Scottish Government have released details of the financial support that will be provided to businesses impacted by these measures.

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11 May 2021 – Covid Restrictions Announcement

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed today that the majority of mainland Scotland will move to Level 2 restrictions from 17th May. The exception is Moray, which may remain in Level 3 due to an increasing number of Covid-19 cases. This will be assessed during this week, with a final decision to be made on Friday. Should Moray remain in Level 3, travel restrictions will be put in place to prevent travel into and out of the area. The Scottish Government have stated that they would provide support to businesses impacted by these measures should they be implemented.

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20 April 2021 – Tourism and hospitality sector guidance

Scottish Government has confirmed that Scotland will move to Level 3 restrictions from Monday 26 April. This will mean significant easing of restrictions across retail, hospitality and travel.

From 26 April, hospitality venues such as cafes, pubs and restaurants can reopen, along with tourist accommodation. The First Minister has also confirmed that the remaining travel restrictions within Scotland will be lifted and travel within the UK will be permitted for any purpose.

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26 March 2021 – Self-catering Q&A sheet [Updated 21 April 2021]

Our Policy Adviser Gavin Mowat has put together an information sheet of questions and answers for self-catering businesses. Members with any additional questions or who wish to receive more information can contact Gavin directly.

Read the sheet

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24 March 2021 – £25 million for tourism recovery

Holiday vouchers, discounts for days out and a marketing fund are included in a new £25 million tourism recovery programme developed by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in partnership with businesses. Speaking at the Scottish Tourism Alliance conference, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the funding to support the sector’s recovery.

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22 March 2021 – Planning implications of Covid Act

In planning terms, the extension of the Scottish Coronavirus Act to 30 September 2021 means that, among other things, the duration of planning permissions, listed building consents and conservation area consents are extended. Through associated regulations, those consents which are due to expire between now and 30 September will be extended to 31 March 2022.

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16 March 2021 – First Minister's update on Covid-19 restrictions

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today presented more detail on Scotland’s timetable of easing Covid-19 restrictions, by giving indicative dates for reopening the economy and society as well as more detail on future business support.  All dates are subject to review and depend on the situation with infections, vaccine rollout and hospital capacity.

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12 March 2021 – Guidance for private landlords and letting agents

The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund and the Private Rent Sector Landlord (non-business) COVID-19 Loan Scheme, both of which offer interest-free loans, will continue to receive applications beyond the original deadline of 31 March 2021. Additionally, The current ban on the enforcement of eviction orders in Scotland has now been extended to 30 September 2021.

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03 March 2021 – Extension of furlough scheme announced

As part of the UK Government’s 2021 Budget Announcement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme has been extended to September for all businesses across the UK.

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02 March 2021 – Scotland’s Strategic Framework Update

On 23 February, the Scottish Government released their updated Coronavirus Strategic Framework, which sets out the six tools that will be used to restore greater normality to the lives of the Scottish populace, an update on the proposed timeline of restriction easings, and further details on funding that will continue to be made available to businesses impacted by lockdown measures.

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01 March 2021 – Local Authority Discretionary Fund information table

We have created a table to keep members informed on the availability of the Local Authority Discretionary Fund in their local area. We will aim to update this table on a weekly basis, so if the information you are looking for is not available at present, then please check back at a later date.

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25 February 2021 – Scottish Country Sports Restart Fund *UPDATE*

The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Restart Fund  has been established to support the Scottish country sports tourism sector to survive the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is estimated that the value of country sports tourism to the Scottish economy is £200 million per year, with 8,800 full-time equivalent jobs being supported by the sector.

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16 February 2021 – Non-domestic rates relief extension

The Scottish Government has today announced the extension of non-domestic rates relief for retail, leisure, hospitality and aviation businesses through 2021-22.

This builds on the initial announcement from the Scottish Government that non-domestic rates relief would be extended for three months following the release of the 2021 Budget.

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12 February 2021 - Short-term let control areas and licensing - UPDATE

The Scottish Government is proposing to regulate short-term lets through the introduction of a mandatory licensing scheme and by giving local authorities the ability to introduce ‘short-term let control areas’ where the any new or existing short-term let would require planning consent.  The statutory instruments (licensing & planning) were passed by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee on 03 February 2021. There will now be a full vote at the Scottish Parliament on 17 February 2021, which if passed will turn the regulations into law. If approved they will come into force on 1 April 2021, and local authorities will have until 1 April 2022 to establish a licencing scheme and existing hosts will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence.

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11 February 2021 - Covid Support Announced

The Scottish Government has announced eligibility for the one-off £2,000 grants for large self-catering properties and one-off payments of £10,000 for exclusive use venues. 

Self-catering business are eligible if they have a property which accommodates seven or more people, and for which they pay non-domestic rates. Similarly, exclusive use venues must pay non-domestic rates and have been evaluated by the Scottish Assessors Association as an “exclusive use venue” providing overnight accommodation in their main building, in lodges at the property, or a combination of both.

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09 February 2021 Temporary arrangements for forestry grants during Covid

During the current COVID pandemic, Scottish Forestry is prioritising its resources to best support the sector and as a result will be implementing some temporary measures.  

The focus will be on dealing with existing grant applications, paying claims  and taking forward felling permissions, which are important in order to maintain a supply of timber to the industry.

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08 February 2021 - Country sports Covid support

We are aware of the stress and issues many members have had relating to securing funding for sporting businesses impacted by Covid restrictions. We have been working tirelessly with other organisations to lobby the Scottish Government to add sporting businesses to lists of existing Covid-support funds, from which they are currently excluded.

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25 January – Scottish Wedding Industry Fund announced

The Scottish Government has announced a new fund aimed to provide support to businesses whose main income comes from the wedding and civil partnerships industry, which has been significantly impacted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Fund will open for applications on 28 January.

The Fund will offer a fixed grant amount based on turnover.

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21 January 2021- Support for larger self-catering properties and B&Bs

Details of support for larger self-catering properties and B&Bs paying council tax have been confirmed by Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing.

The £7 million Large Self-Catering Grant and the Exclusive Use Grant was announced as part of the £104 million tourism and hospitality package in December. Eligible self–catering businesses will be able to apply for one off grant support of £2,000. Eligible exclusive use premises will be able to apply for £10,000 in grant support.

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13 January 2021- Further restrictions announced

The Scottish Government has announced that this Saturday, 16 January 2021, new restrictions will be implemented which will impact businesses and households across mainland Scotland.

These are troubling times, and as we hold out for the light of the vaccine at the end of the tunnel, the most important thing we can do is heed the advice of health officials. Please follow all governmental and official guidelines to help make sure you, your staff and community remains safe.

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11 January 2021- Grant support top-up announced

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced top-ups to the Strategic Business Framework Fund available to hospitality, retail and leisure businesses in Scotland that have been required to close as a result of the level 4 restrictions.
 
Eligible businesses are entitled to a one-off grant in addition to monies already received through the Fund.

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08 January 2021- Covid funding

Following the announcement of up to £9,000 of funding for businesses forced to close in the last round of Covid-19 restrictions by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, there was some confusion as this does not apply to businesses in Scotland. The package of funding announced by Scottish Government in December, including for Wedding venues, self-catering, B&B and other sectors is still awaiting detail on how to apply and eligibility. We will update as soon as possible. In the meantime temporary closure grants and restriction grants are still available and more details below and here.

If your business is required to close by law you could be entitled to a temporary closure grant every four weeks, of one of the following:

  • £2,000 if your business premises has a rateables value of up to and including £51,000
  • £3,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above

 

From 1 January 2021 there will no longer be an upper limit of £15,000 for any eligible business operating multiple premises.

If your business is specifically required to modify its operations, as specified by the schedules of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 or specified in the levels list on the eligibility page, you may be entitled to a Business Restrictions grant every four weeks, of one of the following:

  • £1, 400 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000 
  • £2,100 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above

From 1 January 2021 there will no longer be an upper limit of £10,500 for any eligible business operating multiple premises.

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06 January 2021- New ‘stay at home’ restrictions

Following the First Minister’s announcement, new ‘stay at home’ coronavirus restrictions come into effect on the 5 January 2021. This means that all those residing in a tier 4 area should stay at home by law, and may only leave for an essential purpose.

Information on how this will impact those engaging in deer management can be found here.

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05 January 2021- Outdoor Access during January Lockdown

On Monday 04 January 2021, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a new national lockdown for all of mainland Scotland to begin on Tuesday 05 January. These new measures are expected to apply until at least the end of January. Island communities will remain in Level 3 of the Scottish Governments 4-level tiered system. 

Outdoor recreation is still permitted however there are now restrictions on travel and on the numbers of people allowed to meet. Only two people aged 12 or over from two households are allowed to meet outdoors (children aged under 11 are exempt). Additionally, cross border travel is not permitted, except for essential purposes. 

The Scottish Government guidance suggests a list of examples of reasonable excuses to go out, including:

  • local outdoor recreation, sport or exercise, walking, cycling, golf, or running that starts and finishes at the same place (which can be up to 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority area) as long as you abide by the rules on meeting other households.

For further information please see our dedicated Access page.

 

Any member who would like further information on how shoots can manage surplus birds now that the shooting season has effectively ended, please contact our Moorland Director Tim Baynes - tim.baynes@scottishlandandestates.co.uk

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22 December 2020 - £104 million tourism and hospitality funding

Scottish Government has announced £104 million support package for the tourism and hospitality sector in the New Year.

The funding is part of the £185 million package already announced and is part of the short term response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations. Further work will be urgently undertaken to establish what additional support is needed in light of the announcement to move mainland Scotland into Level 4 and the islands to Level 3 from Boxing day.

Areas set to benefit from this round include:

  • £19.2 million to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses
  • £50.8 million for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 that have not received support from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund or Hotel Support Programme and some additional support to smaller businesses impacted by restrictions
  • £11.8 million for international inbound, coach tourism and domestic tour operators
  • £7 million for self-catering
  • £5 million for visitor attractions
  • £2.5 million for outdoor tourism
  • £2.3 million for hostels
  • £2 million for ski centres
  • £1.5 million for travelling show people ineligible for other support
  • £1.2 million for Destination Management Organisations
  • £1 million for B&Bs and guest houses excluded from the latest Non Domestic Rates scheme

Read more on the Scottish Government website.

Details and opening dates for all funding pots will be announced in due course.

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21 December 2020 - Change to Christmas Covid Restrictions

Announcements were made at the weekend by both the UK & Scottish Governments around the change of Covid-19 restrictions for the Christmas Period. The planned easing of restrictions from 23 to 27 December have now been reduced to Christmas day itself, this includes a maximum of 8 people from 3 households mixing, however the advice is to think carefully about whether this is necessary and the potential implications of it. 

At 00.01am on 26 December all of the Scottish mainland will go into Level 4 restrictions for 3 weeks. This follows the guidance published by the Scottish Government last month. Full details of the Level 4 guidance can be found here. Some of the key points are there should be no mixing indoors, and outdoors there should be a maximum of 6 people from 2 households. All tourism and hospitality, with the exception of takeaway services, must close.  There should be no travel outwith your local authority area unless you have good reason to do so eg for work or health reasons. Outdoor non-contact sports can continue, however they are subject to the rules on socialising and only with a maximum of 6 people from 2 households. 

Business support packages remain in place, please visit your local authority website for details. Further updates will be provided as and when they are available. 

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18 December 2020 - Reminder Of Covid Rules

During the Christmas period you will be aware there is a slight relaxation on the rules of socialising within homes, which allow up to three families to create a “bubble” for a five day period. However it should be borne in mind that this does not extend to business settings and businesses must continue to follow the guidance.

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17 December 2020 - Furlough Scheme Extended

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension to the Job Retention Scheme by one month to the end of April.

The government will continue to pay up to 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April, with a cap of £2,500 a month.

Employers will only be required to pay the wages, National Insurance (NI) contributions and pensions for hours worked, as well as NI contributions and pensions for hours not worked.

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15 December 2020 - Updated Coronavirus (COVID-19): Local Protection Levels

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that three Local Authority areas will move from Level 2 to Level 3 Protection Levels from 6pm on Friday 18 December.

All other Local Authorities will remain at their previous levels.

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09 December 2020 - New £185 million package for business

Businesses across Scotland will benefit from a new £185 million package of targeted coronavirus (COVID-19) support.

The announcement follows discussions with business groups and sees a wide range of sectors benefiting, from taxi drivers and arts venues to travel agents and hospitality.

In addition, there will be additional one-off payments to hospitality businesses in January to help them deal with the traditional post-Christmas dip in demand. These will be of £2,000 or £3,000, depending on rateable value.

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08 December 2020 - Updated Coronavirus (COVID-19): Local Protection Levels

The First Minister has announced that the 11 local authorities currently in Level 4 of Covid protection will drop down to Level three from 11 December.

Overall, half of all Scotland’s local authorities will move down a level this coming Friday.

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04 December 2020 - Festive guidelines update

What are the travel rules over Christmas?

Travel restrictions will be relaxed from 23 – 27 December (inclusive) to allow people to travel between local authority areas and the four nations of the UK to join their bubble.

If using public transport you should make a plan in advance and book ahead where possible.  You must also wear a face covering during travel on public transport, unless exempt.

Many services have to be pre-booked. You should book travel as soon as possible. This will ensure you get a seat and give travel operators a good indication of likely demand. Don’t leave it until the last minute.

Those travelling to or from the Scottish Islands should do so within the 5 day period, 23 – 27 December.   

While travelling you should minimise stop-offs during journeys except where necessary for safety and respite, and follow the Scottish Government’s guidance on travelling safely

If you travel to form a bubble, once you arrive you must follow the rules about travel that apply in that local authority area. In a Level 3 or 4 area in Scotland, for example, once you have arrived and formed your bubble you must avoid non-essential travel outside the local authority area in which you are staying.  And in an area of Scotland at Level 0, 1, or 2 you must avoid unnecessary travel into any Level 3 or 4 area.

See the Scottish Government’s guidance on travel and transport .
 

What if there are travel delays or cancellations meaning I cannot return home on 27 December?

You must leave the gathering by the end of the 27 December. In some cases where there is an overnight journey, for example from Shetland to the mainland, you should start that journey on 27 December. The only exception to this is where you have a reasonable excuse for example you are delayed as a result of travel disruption or ill-health, including self-isolating following a positive covid test or as a contact of someone who has had a positive test.

You can travel to and from Northern Ireland on 22 December 2020 in order to arrive at a gathering on 23 December 2020.

Can my bubble stay in self-catered accommodation? 

We recognise that people will not always have a house big enough to accommodate a Christmas bubble. The law therefore lets a bubble meet in self-catered accommodation (or 2nd home) for a Christmas gathering, but only in the local authority area in which you or a member of your bubble lives. As we need to prevent the risk of spreading the virus, a Christmas gathering is not allowed in an area outside the local authority area in which one of the participants lives.

Operators should check that at least one household participating is from within the local authority area. Use this postcode tool to check the local authority area for a postcode.

A maximum of 8 people from up to 3 households which have formed a bubble can stay in self-catering accommodation over the period 23 to 27 December.  Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards the total number of people in the bubble. If you are staying with another household you should not have more than one household (or extended household) staying in each bedroom.
 

Can my bubble stay in tourist accommodation, such as hotels or B&Bs?

The bubble should not meet or stay in hotel or B&B accommodation during the Christmas period.  However, individual members or an individual household which is part of a bubble may use hotel or B & B accommodation nearby.   
 

If I have formed a bubble can we go to hospitality?

Those who have formed a bubble should only socialise in a hospitality, leisure or entertainment venue in your own household (or extended household) for the duration of the festive period.

Socialising and opening hours for pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are as per the local authority protection levels that the venue is situated in.

More details are available on the Scottish Government website.

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03 December 2020 - Christmas eviction ban introduced

Enforcement of evictions from rented properties will be halted in Scotland for a six week period until mid-January.

The move will give extra protection to tenants during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It will reduce the burden on local authorities, who have a duty to rehouse people made homeless through evictions, and will also make it easier for people to self-isolate if they choose to form extended bubbles during the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions over Christmas.

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24 November 2020 - Changes to COVID-19 protection levels and business support *UPDATED*

Please note: A previous version of this update indicated that Midlothian would be moving from Covid protection level 3 to level 2. The Scottish Government has since changed their decision on this, and Midlothian will currently remain within level 3.

The First Minister has announced the results of the latest review of COVID-19 protection levels in Scotland. The majority of local authorities will remain at their current level and you can check which level applies by using the Scottish Government postcode checker.

East Lothian will move from level 3 to level 2 from next Tuesday 24 November.

Eleven council areas will move into level 4 restrictions from 6pm on Friday 20 November through to 11 December.  These are:  the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

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10 November 2020 - Changes to COVID-19 protection levels

Three council areas are to move up a protection level as cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to rise in their areas.

Fife, Perth & Kinross and Angus local authority areas will move from Level 2 - where they have been since the new levels system was announced - to Level 3 with the change coming into effect from 6am on Friday 13 November.

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5 November 2020 - Extension of furlough scheme

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the extension of the furlough scheme until the End of March 2021. This will revert to the higher rate of 80% contribution from government (up to a maximum of £2,500)as per the initial version of the scheme. This will also have the flexibility of having staff work part time for roles which are not made temporarily redundant.

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23 October 2020 - The Scottish Government’s new five-level framework

During Friday 23 October's media briefing the First Minister outlined the Scottish Government’s new five-level framework which will allow for a refreshed strategic approach to suppressing Coronavirus outbreaks across Scotland.

The framework indicates different levels of protection that might be needed based on different levels of transmission for the virus. It will allow for rapid but proportionate responses on both a local and national basis using a transparent range of measures and options.

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22 October 2020 - Job Support Scheme

The First Minister has announced that the temporary restrictions on hospitality which were due to end on 26 October have been extended to 6am on Monday 2 November.

On 22 October 2020, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined changes to the Job Support Scheme, in particular the different options for businesses which are forced to close and those which can stay open.

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21 October 2020 - Covid hospitality restrictions extended

The First Minister has announced that the temporary restrictions on hospitality which were due to end on 26 October have been extended to 6am on Monday 2 November.

The First Minister said the extension allows for a transition to the new ‘Level System’ from 2 November that can be applied nationally or regionally, depending on the level of infection.

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15 October 2020 - Covid Support Funds - UPDATE

Details on eligibility criteria a £40 million support fund for businesses affected by the most recent restrictions on hospitality businesses have been published.

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7 October 2020  - New short-term restrictions

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has updated the Scottish Parliament on new short-term restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, which are to be introduced in Scotland at 6pm on Friday 9 October until Sunday 26 Oct. These new restrictions will affect the whole of Scotland and will have a significant impact on the tourism and hospitality sector.

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24 September 2020 - New Job Support Scheme and VAT rate cut

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new Job Support Scheme, starting in November 2020. The Job Support Scheme will provide wage support to allow employers to bring their staff back for shorter hours. Employees must work a third of their normal hours and employers will continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work. However, they will not need to pay for the hours not worked, the UK Government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary. All SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) will be eligible for the new scheme but larger businesses can only apply if they can demonstrate turnover has fallen though the Covid crisis. The scheme will run for six months starting in November and firms can apply to both the Job Support Scheme and claim the job retention bonus.

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22 September 2020 - New restrictions to combat the rise in Covid-19

On Tuesday 22 September, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, unveiled a range of new restrictions to combat the rise in Covid-19 infections.

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