Covid Update

Restrictions are easing across the UK

On Monday, the Government confirmed the intention for non-essential retail and hospitality venues (outdoors only) to open in England from Monday April 12th – restrictions are also easing across Scotland, Wales and NI.

In England

From 12 April more businesses and venues can reopen.

In Scotland

People were asked to ‘Stay Local’ from 2 April. A timetable for further lockdown easing from 5 April is on GOV.SCOT.

In Wales

The stay local restriction was lifted on 27 March. It is illegal to travel in or out of Wales without a reasonable excuse, such as work. Holiday accommodation open for people living in Wales only. Read about the rules on GOV.WALES.

In Northern Ireland

The next review will happen on or before 15 April. You can read the guidance on current restrictions on nidirect.

Covid testing

Businesses with over 10 staff members can still register to receive rapid flow tests, although you must do this by 12th April (extended from 31st March), if you register for this service you should receive enough tests for each employee to use at home twice a week until June. The Government believe workplaces still have a key role in testing the population despite the rollout of tests for everyone in April (see below). Register here: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests

In addition to workplace testing, everyone in England will be able to access free, twice weekly coronavirus (COVID-19) testing from 9th April. More information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/twice-weekly-rapid-testing-to-be-available-to-everyone-in-england

Haulier’s returning from outside the UK remain exempt from quarantining rules, however from the 6th of April all inbound driver’s from outside the UK intending to stay in England for more than 48 hours are required to undertake Coronavirus tests on Days 2, 5 and 8. Tests for lorry drivers are available free at more than 40 government haulier advice sites.  All hauliers arriving in the country will now also be required to self-isolate in their cabs for the duration of their time in England, leaving only for specific reasons such as to buy food, use a toilet or undertake limited exercise, or get a COVID-19 test, among other reasons. More information can be found here.

Social distancing review

As part of Monday’s announcement, the Government committed to undertaking a ‘social distancing review’ to understand the long term requirements for continued distancing measures taking into account lockdown easing and vaccinations. The review could have implications for the continuing requirement for workplace guidelines, but for now these remain in place. The findings will be published in June, more detail is available here. The HSE has also produced some general advice for keeping workplaces safe as coronavirus restrictions are eased, available here.

Driver shortages

We have had reports, although not directly from our members, that those hauliers preparing to scale up services in advance of the reopening of food service and the hopefully busy summer season are experiencing difficulties recruiting drivers and significant backlogs of driver tests and training. If this is impacting your business, please make myself and Shane aware so we can make sure the Government understand this risk.

Business support measures

The news that wholesale businesses will be able to finally receive business rate relief under a new £1.5bn fund was extremely welcome news for the sector. If you feel you might be eligible for the fund, or have any questions on existing measures, such as furlough, the newly launched Restart Grant or Recovery Loan Scheme, please get in touch, or see Government advice and eligibility here.

Any queries, please get in touch.

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