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Covid-19 Impact Brief: Thursday, October 29

Covid-19 Impact Brief: Thursday, October 29

Each week, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest weekly news in the evolving situation. 

The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has laid out plans for a new 5 tiered system of Covid-19 restrictions for Scotland

  • The five levels, which are due to come into effect on 2 November are as follows:
    • Level 0 -Baseline – near normal, indoor mixing allowed, maximum of 8 people from three households indoors and 15 people from five households can meet outdoors.
    • Level 1 – Medium – six people from two households can meet indoors and outdoors.
    • Level 2 – High – no indoor meeting with other households, six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings. Pubs, bars and restaurants permitted to sell alcohol indoors only with a main meal – and only until 8om.
    • Level 3 -Very High – Alcohol sales not permitted indoors or outdoors. Cafes, pubs and restaurants are allowed to open until 6pm to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks.
    • Level 4 – Closer to full lockdown of the type seen earlier this year, with non-essential shops, hospitality and gyms all being forced to close. However schools will remain open and some outdoor meetings will still be allowed.
  • Sturgeon also specified which tier will be applied to each of Scotland’s council areas they are as follow:
    • Level 0 – no areas have been placed in the lowest category
    • Level 1 – Highland, Moray, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland
    • Level 2 – Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Angus, Fife, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll & Bute, Perth and Kinross
    • Level 3 – Inverclyde, East and West Dunbartonshire; Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, the City of Glasgow; South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire; Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire; the City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian and East Lothian; North and South Lanarkshire
    • Level 4 – no areas have been placed in the top tier
  • The Scottish Government has also set out details of grants available to business forced to close. From 2 November, these businesseswill be eligible for grants every four weeks as long as the restrictions last. Based on rateable values, awards will be either £2,000 or £3,000.

Both France and Germany have announced plans for a second national lockdown  

  • France and Germany have followed the Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland to become the third and fourth EU nations to announce a second national lockdown with Belgium likely to announce similar measure this weekend.
    • From 30 October, all non-essential businesses in France will close and people will only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons.
    • However primary and secondary schools will remain open and visits will be allowed to retirement homes.
    • Public services and factories will also remain open as well as markets, parks and gardens. Home working will be encouraged wherever possible.
    • The new measures will be reviewed in a fortnight but it will not be eased until new infections fall back to about 5,000 a day from the present level of more than 40,000.
    • The French version of the furlough scheme has been extended.
    • Meanwhile Germany will impose a more limited national lockdown from 2 November until 30 November.
    • Bars, gyms, theatres, beauty salons, swimming pools, massage parlours, tattoo studios and concert halls will be forced to close, and private gatherings restricted to a maximum of ten people or two households.
    • Restaurants will be ordered to shut except to offer takeaway and delivery services, hotels will be banned from offering rooms to tourists.
    • Schools and day-care centres can stay open. Shops will be allowed to admit one customer for every 10 sq.m of floor space. Companies will be urged to let employees work from home.
    • In terms of economic help, smaller companies and the self-employed badly hit by the lockdown will be reimbursed with up to 75% of their November 2019 takings.

Other news

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its forecast from earlier this month for the UK economy this year and next. The economy is now forecast to shrink by 10.4% this year, and bounce back by less (5.7%) next year.
  • Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Darlington, Peterborough, Norwich, Torquay and Warrington are set to benefit from up to £178.7 million in new Town Deals.
  • East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston-Upon-Hull, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, Dudley, Staffordshire, Telford, the Wrekin, Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales, Derby City, South Derbyshire, the whole of High Peak; Charnwood, Luton and Oxford  will be moving to tier 2 from 00:01 on 31 October.
  • The Culture Recovery Fund has announced another £75 million investment for arts venues and cultural organisations in the biggest awards from the fund to date. 70% of the investment is awarded to organisations outside of London as grants of up to £3 million go to 35 cultural icons.
  • Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis is self-isolating, after coming into contact with somebody who recently tested positive for Covid-19.
  • The Scottish Government have announced the first phase of business grants from the new fund which will make one-off grants of up to £50,000 available to nightclubs and soft play centres.
  • Funding guidance has been published for the Scottish Government’s £5 million Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers. Applications opened on 26 October for those in the arts and creative sector who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to a loss in earnings as a result of the pandemic.
  • DHSC has announced that more than 30m people will be vaccinated against the flu this year to help prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.
  • It has been confirmed by their local council that Warrington will move into England’s very high Covid alert (Tier 3).
  • Nottinghamshire’s auction houses, car boot sales, betting shops, saunas and tattoo parlours must close as the county moves into tier three at 00:01 GMT on 30 October. Under the new measures, alcohol will also be banned from being sold after 21:00 in shops, but can be sold until 22:00 if bought “in hospitality venues where accompanying a substantial meal”. Hotels can remain open, as can gyms and leisure centres.
  • The Northern Ireland Executive has brought forward a bespoke package to provide financial assistance to the taxi, private bus and coach sectors. They have also given the green light for financial support to be released to support the creative and heritage sectors.

Private Sector updates

  • Boeing is to cut another 7,000 jobs. The US plane maker, which had already announced deep cuts, said its staff would number just 130,000 by the end of next year – 20% down on the 160,000 it employed before the crisis. It posted a loss of $466m (£354m) for the three months to 30 September, its fourth straight quarterly decline.
  • Retail sales fell back at sharpest pace since June, according to the CBI. The CBI conducted a survey of 116 firms, of which 54 were retailers. Internet sales picked up, grocery volumes were flattened after 5 months of strong sales and non-food retail categories and other ‘normal goods’ decreased.
  • Heathrow airport has been overtaken by Charles de Gaulle in Paris as the busiest in Europe, with passenger numbers down almost 80 per cent and losses of £1.5bn for the year so far. Charles de Gaulle had 19.3m passengers between January and the end of September, about 300,000 more than Heathrow,
  • The Office for National Statistics’ latest survey on business impacts has found 47% of currently trading UK businesses reported their turnover had decreased below what is normally expected for this time of year. Around 10% said their turnover had increased, while 35% said it was unaffected. The study also found that retail footfall in Wales over the weekend fell to a quarter of its level in the same period a year ago, following a nationwide “fire break” lockdown.
  • Airbus lost €2.7bn (£2.5bn) in the first nine months of 2020

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