Covid-19 update 5th January 2022
Over the past few weeks various new Covid restrictions, funding and support has been announced, as the country grapples with the new Omicron variant. To help you keep up to date, we have pulled together a summary of the main restrictions, grants, and support that is now, or will soon be available. As always, if you have any questions please contact our policy team at: email@example.com.
Changes to testing and self-isolation rules
Starting 6th January 2022, some of the rules around testing and self-isolation are changing:
• If you receive a positive Covid test result, you now have the option to end self-isolation after 7 days if you have no fever and record two negative lateral flow tests (at least 6 days after testing positive and then at least 24 hours after that)
• If you are a close or household contact of someone who has tested positive, if you are either under 18 years old or fully vaccinated and boosted, the requirement to self-isolate has now been removed, providing you take a lateral flow test every day for the next 7 days, and these are all negative. If you are not fully vaccinated and you are a close contact you will still need to isolate and take a PCR test.
• On testing: if you have Covid symptoms, you still need to get a PCR test. However, if you have no symptoms and your lateral flow test is positive, you no longer need to take a PCR test. However, you should instead register your positive test result online so that Test and Protect can inform your close contacts.
• Guidance is available on the Scottish Government website for businesses and workplaces on reducing the risk of Covid-19. This includes sector-specific guidance.
• Nightclubs have to close, unless they transition to table service and physical distancing, in line with the requirements for other hospitality businesses.
• All outdoor events will be limited to just 500 people to help slow the spread of Omicron. Indoor events such as concerts will be limited to 200 people if they are seated, or 100 for standing. Physical distancing of 1m will also need to be in place for all events that go ahead under the restrictions.
• Pubs and other hospitality venues selling alcohol needed to reintroduce table service from 27 December.
• Indoor hospitality and leisure venues are required to ensure there is a 1m distance between groups of people who are attending together (although not within groups).
• It is now a legal duty for employers to enable their employees to work from home wherever possible. If employees were working from home during the first lockdown, they are now expected to do so again.
• Individuals who are unable to work from home should do a lateral flow test regularly (twice-weekly) and on every occasion they intend to mix socially with people from other households. All businesses and organisations with ten or more staff can now sign up for free asymptomatic workplace testing. Organisations with fewer than 10 staff should encourage employees to test themselves regularly at home.
All measures are to be reviewed on 11th January.
• December and January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality has been set up to provide financial support to businesses in the hospitality sector affected by the latest public health advice. Between now and the end of January 2022, the City Council will contact businesses who have previously received funding under the Strategic Framework Business Fund, which was last received in April 2021.
For new businesses, or businesses where there has been a change of use, you can apply through the Scottish Government. More information on this process should be released soon on their website.
Provided they meet all the eligibility criteria, businesses which are Limited Companies (including social enterprises), Sole Traders, Trusts, Partnerships, Community Interest Companies or Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations, may apply for a grant.
• Under the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be reimbursed Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences, for up to two weeks per employee. This scheme is now available.
• The Business Ventilation Fund helps businesses to improve ventilation and air quality on their premises to help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. Businesses can claim back costs of up to £2500. Applications will be accepted until Thursday 31 March 2022 or until the fund runs out, whichever comes first.
• Covid-19 Cancellation Fund for Creative Freelancers provides a one-off award to creative freelancers who have lost income following the cancellation of work that was due to take place in the period 27th November 2021 – 31st March 2022 as a consequence of Covid-19. Applications will open at 2pm on Thursday 6th January.
• Scottish Wedding Industry Fund (SWIF) – businesses that have previously received this fund will receive a top-up payment and will be contacted directly, by email, in the week commencing 10th January 2022
• A further round of the Scottish Wholesale Food and Drink Resilience Fund will run in January 2022. We will keep members updated as new information is made available.
• Further information on support for the following sectors/industries is expected shortly:
o the worst affected parts of the tourism sector, including international inbound tour operators (this will be administered by VisitScotland)
o beauticians and hairdressers
o wedding supply chain businesses
o the events sector and supply chain
o taxis and private hire vehicles
• You can find more information and guidance on the Scottish Government’s recently announced support for businesses on the Find Business Support and Scottish Government websites. You can also email CovidBusinessSupport@gov.scot or get in touch with our policy team at firstname.lastname@example.org
• You can also get support from your local Business Gateway and can get in touch with them at email@example.com