Daily Covid-19 Brief: Tuesday, May 12
Each day, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest news in the evolving situation. To view the previous day’s summary, please click here.
Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced that the Government Job Retention Scheme has been extended for four months to the end of October.
- The scheme will continue to operate exactly as it has been until the end of July.
- From August to October, the Government will ask employers to start sharing the costs of salaries. To what extent employers will be asked to share the burden is unclear at present.
- The Government will ask employers to start sharing, with the Government, the costs of paying people’s salaries.
- However, the scheme will continue, for all sectors and all regions of the UK, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work.
- Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring back furloughed employees part time. The Government is also exploring ways for furloughed workers to take on additional training during this period.
- At present the scheme is supporting 7.5 million workers and almost 1 million businesses.
- The Government has said that further detail will follow by the end of May.
- The Institute for Fiscal Studies, has said the eventual cost of the Treasury’s coronavirus job retention scheme could rise from £40bn to £100bn.
The government has published sector specific guidance documents detailing the steps businesses are expected to take to return to working practices
- The guidance documents followed the release of the Prime Minister’s recovery strategy which laid out a phased approach to restarting the economy and returning some sectors to working practices.
- The documents cover the following sectors:
Northern Ireland has published a five-stage plan for easing the Covid-19 lockdown
- The document, entitled Executive Approach to Decision-Making does not include a timetable – but the First Minister, Arlene Foster said she hoped to reach the final stage by December. All of the plan is dependent on a decrease of the infection rate.
- In the first stage, groups of four to six people who do not share a household would be allowed to meet outdoors while maintaining social distancing. Large outdoor-based retailers such as garden centres will also be allowed to reopen.
- Churches will be allowed to open for private prayer and hold drive-through services.
- In stage two, certain types of non-food retailers can open, as can some libraries and open-air museums.
- In stage four, hairdressers, fitness studios and tattoo parlours can reopen and schools will open for all children on a part-time basis, blending in-school and remote learning.
- Cafes, restaurants and pubs will have to wait until step five to reopen.
Other UK COVID 19 news
- Class sizes in the UK will be limited to 15 pupils to ensure social distancing is possible in the classroom, in addition to staggered start, finish and break times.
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that overseas summer holidays are highly unlikely this year.
- The Government is actively exploring the idea of easing isolation by allowing social bubbles to mix.
World COVID 19 news
- Wuhan has announced plans to test the entirety of the 11 million population amid fears of new cases being reported.
- New Zealand have reported no new infections and no new deaths as they continue to ease restrictions with cinemas, playgrounds, gyms and retailers being allowed to open this week.
- Staff in the White House have been ordered to wear face masks when entering the West Wing after two staffers fell ill. President Donald Trump has stated that he does not have to follow the rule.
- Russia has reported an additional 10,899 infections in the last 24 hours, bringing their total to 232,000.
Private sector updates
- Premier League clubs have been told they might have to repay an estimated £340m to domestic and international broadcasters even if the season resumes behind closed doors.
- Ryanair has set out new guidelines ahead of its planned restarting of 40% of services in July. They include passengers having to ask to use the toilet and advising flyers to check their temperature before going to the airport.
- Halfords shares have soared by 17% amid a 500% increase in sales of cycling equipment since lockdown and Government advice that people cycle to work where they can.
- P&O Ferries plans to cut 1,100 jobs, around a quarter of the workforce, following a sharp decline in demand.
- Transport for London (TfL) is on track to lose £4bn this year, having lost 90% of its income during lockdown, and has stepped up calls for a bailout from the Government.
- Land Securities says that less than 10% of its office sites are being used as people work from home during lockdown, and warned that rent collection will be even harder in the coming months.