Well, at least we know and in the end, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise but we had confirmation on Monday night that lockdown restrictions will be in place for four more weeks than expected until 19th July.
That’s terrible news for hospitality businesses who were expecting restrictions on numbers to be lifted and had been preparing by recruiting and training staff, bringing existing team members back from furlough and buying in stock.
Many arts and entertainment venues will be feeling disappointed too as they won’t be able to open as expected. Perhaps the only local venue not affected is the lovely Minack Theatre, which was showcased so spectacularly over the weekend when the G7 spouses were treated to a musical performance in bright sunshine.
Weddings given green light
Those planning a summer wedding did get some good news however – the 30 people limit has been dropped as originally planned. There are still some limitations in terms of the number of people who can sit down for dinner and there’s no indoor dancing (apart from the couple’s first dance) but at least those who have been planning their ceremony can now go ahead.
It’s good news too for all the local wedding industry suppliers who were desperate for weddings to be given special treatment – some of them even left a message for the government in the sand over the weekend.
So far, there is no indication that any more financial support will be forthcoming now lockdown is 4 weeks longer. The furlough scheme is still in operation and will continue until September as we detailed in our blog about this year’s Budget which you can read again here.
There is also still another grant to come in the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme although there is a slight difference in the rules this time in that the payout alters depending on how much income has been lost.
The reduced rate of 5% VAT for hospitality businesses remains in place but as with furlough, there doesn’t seem to be any plans to extend it beyond the current cut off date of the end of September when it is planned to increase to 12.5%.
And it doesn’t look like there will be any extension on the Business Rate holiday which is planning to finish at the end of this month before transitioning to 2/3 discount until the end of the year.
The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that there was a record rise in May of those on payrolled employment which certainly reflects our experience locally of adding new employees to payroll schemes and preparing contracts of employment. They also reported high numbers of job vacancies and relatively low numbers of redundancies.
If you need any help with employees, dealing with furlough or simply getting through the next few weeks until 19th July, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.