England: Guidance and Support

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England: Guidance and Support

See below for England's close contact guidance, lockdown dates, three-tier system, and financial support options to help salons affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic...

England will enter a four week lockdown from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December. Salons can reopen on the 2nd. Once the lockdown is lifted, England will return to its three tier COVID Alert Levels below.
COVID Alert Levels

Local COVID alert levels set out information for local authorities, residents, and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area. Local COVID alert levels are sometimes called ‘tiers’ or known as a ‘local lockdown’. To find out which area is in which tier, click here.

Tier 1: Medium Alert
  • You must not socialise in groups larger than 6 people, indoors or outdoors, other than where a legal exemption applies
  • Businesses and venues can remain open, in a COVID secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to: provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol, close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt), and stop taking orders after 10pm
  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres, and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
  • Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • Places of worship remain open, but you must not attend or socialise in groups of more than 6 people while there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events
  • Organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place, if the rule of 6 is followed. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes, and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
Tier 2: High Alert

This is for areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of  infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place.

  • You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to: provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol, close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt), and stop taking orders after 10pm
  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres, and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
  • Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • Places of worship remain open, but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings
  • Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
Tier 3: Very High

This is for areas with a very high or very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place.

  • You must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training
  • Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes indoor play centres and areas, including trampolining parks and soft play, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, laser quests and escape rooms, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, and snooker halls
  • Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open). This includes indoor attractions within zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves, aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions, model villages, museums, galleries and sculpture parks, botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses, theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs, visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes, and landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms
  • Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should close
  • There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators
  • Large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events
  • Places of worship remain open, but you must not attend with or socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events
  • Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place
  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s
  • You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • Avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey
  • For international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

Financial Support
Job Support Scheme

Rishi Sunak has announced today (05.11.20) the extension of the UK wide furlough scheme until the end of March 21. He confirms it will pay 80% of salaries. He stated that the policy will be reviewed in January, “to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more”. The Job Support Scheme (JSS) is due to replace the furlough scheme when it ends. To see more on the extended furlough scheme and eligibility, click here.

The Job Support Scheme provides different types of support to these businesses so they can get the right assistance, at the right time, according to their situation. Businesses that are operating but facing decreased demand can get support for wages through JSS Open. Those businesses that are legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK can get the support they need through JSS Closed.

With the Job Support Scheme, the employee will need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours and the employer will continue to pay them as normal for the hours worked. Alongside this, the employee will receive 66.67% of their normal pay for the hours not worked - this will be made up of contributions from the employer and from the government.

The employer will pay 5% of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, with the discretion to pay more than this if they wish. The government will pay the remainder of 61.67%, of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. This will ensure employees continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3,125 a month or less.

JSS Closed

For employers that have been legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK, these businesses can claim using JSS Closed to support the wage costs of employees who have been instructed to cease work.

Each employee who cannot work due to these restrictions will receive two thirds of their normal pay, paid by their employer and fully funded by the government, to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month, although their employer has discretion to pay more than this if they wish.

Eligibility

Employers will be able to access the Job Support Scheme if:

  • They have enrolled for PAYE online
  • They have a UK, Channel Island, or Isle of Man bank account

Additional eligibility criteria will apply depending on whether the employer is claiming a JSS Open grant or JSS Closed grant.

Eligible employers will be able to claim the Job Support Scheme grant for employees who were on their PAYE payroll between 6 April 2019 and 11:59pm on 23 September 2020. This means an RTI Full Payment Submission notifying payment in respect of that employee must have been made to HMRC at some point from 6 April 2019 up to 11:59pm 23 September 2020.

  • Employers can only claim for employees that were in their employment on 23 September 2020. If employees ceased employment after 23 of September 2020 and were subsequently rehired, then employers can claim for them.
  • Employees can be on any type of contract, including zero hours or temporary contracts.
  • Employees do not need to have been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.
  • Employers will be able to top up employee wages above the level of minimum contributions at their own expense if they wish.
  • Employers cannot claim both JSS Open and JSS Closed in respect of a single employee for the same day.
Who can claim JSS Open

Employers facing decreased demand can claim JSS Open

In addition to the general Job Support Scheme eligibility criteria, employers are eligible to claim the JSS Open if:

  • an employer can demonstrate their turnover has remained equal or fallen to show they have been adversely affected due to coronavirus
  • some, or all, of their employees are working reduced hours - employees must still be working for at least 20% of their usual hours
Who can claim JSS Closed

In addition to the general Job Support Scheme eligibility criteria, employers are eligible to claim JSS Closed if their business premises at one or more locations has been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK.

Employers are only eligible to claim for periods during which the relevant coronavirus restrictions are in place. Employers will not be able to claim JSS Closed to cover periods after restrictions have lifted and the business premises is legally allowed to reopen. They may then be able to claim JSS Open if they are eligible.

Eligible employers will be able to claim the JSS Closed grant for employees:

  • whose primary work place is at the premises that have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK
  • that the employer has instructed to and who cease work for a minimum period of at least 7 consecutive calendar days

This is not a complete list of employee eligibility requirements for JSS Closed and further guidance will be published by the end of October.

JSS Closed temporary working agreements

Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to their employment contract by written agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who they should instruct to cease work, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

To be eligible for the grant, employers must have reached written agreement with their employee (or reached written collective agreement with a trade union where the relevant terms are determined by collective agreement) that they have been instructed to and agree to stop working for a minimum of 7 consecutive calendar days. The agreement must be available for view by HMRC on request.

Employers must maintain records relating to the terms of these arrangements for each employee. They must:

  • notify the employee of the agreement in writing
  • make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
  • keep a written record of the agreement for 5 years
  • this agreement must be made available to HMRC on request
  • The employee must agree to the new arrangement.

Employers cannot claim for an employee who has been made redundant or is serving a contractual or statutory notice period during the claim period.

Paying employee taxes and pension contributions

The Job Support Scheme grant will not cover National Insurance contributions (NICs) or pension contributions. These contributions remain payable by the employer.

Employers must deduct and pay to HMRC income tax and employee NICs on the full amount that is paid to the employee, including any amounts subsequently met by a scheme grant.

Employers and Employees must also still pay pension contributions in accordance with the applicable pension scheme terms, unless the employee has opted out or stopped saving into their pension. If applicable Student Loan deductions and the Apprenticeship Levy must also still be paid.

Get ready to claim

Employers will be able make their first claim from 8 December 2020 on GOV.UK.

Employers will be able to claim from 8 December, covering salary for pay periods ending and paid in November. Subsequent months will follow a similar pattern, with the final claims for April being made from early May. More detail about this process will be published in guidance by the end of October 2020.

Agents who are authorised to do PAYE online for employers will be able to claim on their behalf.

Local Restrictions Support Grant Scheme

In addition to the expansion of the JSS, the government is making the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme more generous so that businesses in England can receive up to £3,000 per month, and are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three. An extension to this grant system has been given for businesses in any tier - even if they are not forced to close by law. They will be eligible for cash grants of up to £2,100 a month, a move which will primarily benefit the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector. These grants will be available via local councils.

This scheme will cover businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments in the UK, are legally required to close their premises. This includes businesses that are required to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises. To be eligible employees must be employed and an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September.

Under the scheme, employees will need to be furloughed for a minimum of seven consecutive days at any given time and the payments to employers will be made monthly in arrears.

  • Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month).
  • Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month).
  • Properties with an rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).

The government is also extending the scheme to include businesses which have been forced to close on a national rather than a local basis. Find your local council to apply for the Local Retrictions Support Grant.

Self-Employed

To read more on the help available for those that are self-employed, click here.

Close Contact Services Guidance

Full details on the guidance that salons and freelancers must follow during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

Quick guidance summary:

  • You must complete a risk assessment for your salon
  • Where possible, you must keep a social distance of 2m
  • Maintain handwashing/sanitization
  • A visor and a Type II face mask must be worn
  • Use a consistent team pairing/bubble system
  • Maintain a high level of hygiene throughout the salon

Further steps:

  • Encourage clients to use hand sanitizer or hand washing facilities as they enter the premises or before treatment.
  • Clients must wear masks.
  • When booking an appointment, asking the client if they can attend on their own, where possible.
  • Adjusting how people move through the premises to reduce congestion and contact between clients, for example, queue management or one-way flow. This may only be possible in larger salons.
  • Operating an appointment-only system.
  • Encouraging clients to arrive at the time of their scheduled appointment.
  • Seeking to avoid skin to skin contact with colleagues, and clients if not crucial for the treatment, and wearing gloves where possible.

COVID-19 related screening questions to be asked of clients ahead of their appointment, including:

  1. Have you had the recent onset of a new continuous cough?
  2. Do you have a high temperature?
  3. Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?

If the client has any of these symptoms, however mild, they should stay at home and reschedule their appointment.

Client Information Collection and NHS App

It is mandatory for all salons in England to collect client information when attending their appointment. The information you will need to collect is the client's name, contact details, date of appointment, and time of arrival and departure. As almost all salons use a booking system or diary, this should be sufficient for you to continue taking your client details with. If you do not use such a system, then you will need to start collecting your clients details for track and trace.

In addition to this law is the NHS COVID-19 app. It is mandatory for all salons to display their unique QR code in the salon ready for clients to scan should they be using the app. You can download your QR code here.