Covid-19 Update

2nd December 2020

 

Dear Member

COVID-19 UPDATE

England

  • The new Tiered system of lockdowns commenced today.  Our ask to have AGCs open in Tier 3 under the same restrictions as bookmakers was not accepted so we are now engaged in a more political approach to persuade government of our case.  Whilst I know a  number of members were clear they would not open with these restrictions in place it is nevertheless important to be making the arguments.  It broadens the number of people we can educate about our business and makes sure we are engaged ready for any further developments in the Tier system going forward.  As if to make the point, I was on a call this morning with Paul Holmes MP who said that the Covid Reform Group MPs last night received a promise from the PM that there would be a detailed look at the impact of the Tiering system on businesses.
  • Speaking of Boris Johnson, we have today written to him asking for closed arcades to be given a £1000 grant as have wet-led pubs.
  • Bacta also had a call today with pub operators as part of our regular liaison with the British Beer and Pub Association and UK Hospitality.  It was useful to gather intelligence on how the pub sector was responding to the new restrictions imposed upon them in Tier 2.  All trade bodies are clear that pool, jukeboxes and fruit machines can be on and played by customers in Tier 2 although we expect some local authorities to once again say they are not.  This is the wording in the UKH/BBPA/BII FAQs in their guidance on the Winter Tiers:

 

Can gaming machines and other games (e.g. pool/snooker) be used? 

Yes, if wearing face coverings and subject to social distancing and relevant household rules, and risk assessed cleaning regimes etc. are in place. Players must be seated if they are consuming food or drinks.

 

  • It was also interesting to discuss the Government guidance for food service.  For wet-led pubs this does allow them to outsource their food provision. So for example, whilst a customer can’t bring in fish and chips from the takeaway over the road, the publican can and then serve it to the customer.  This could help a lot of these pubs get open – and of course have their machines on.  Here is the guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery
  • Also of note is that the requirement for a substantial meal to be served applies only to customers that want alcohol.  It is possible to go into a pub and order a pint of lemonade and not have a substantial meal.

 

Scotland

  • Scottish Region Chair, Joseph Cullis and I attended and STA Council today.  Principally about Brexit we did get the opportunity to again meet with Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing MSP.  He confirmed that the Scottish Government yesterday adopted the Tourism recovery plan (see previous Updates) and that support for the supply chain, a cut in VAT and a further rates holiday were all part of the list of things he was pushing for (and are all on bacta’s asks list).   We took the opportunity to really push hard on the lack of support for our machine suppliers.  We are expecting further news about support packages tomorrow.

 

UK

 Could I ask all members to provide me with any feedback on any of the various grant applications that have been made in England, Scotland and Wales. 

  • Could I also ask members to let me know any numbers arising from the variously named Test, Trace, Protect schemes in England, Scotland and Wales.  If you could let me know how many people have been through the scheme I can use this in our lobbying as I believe there have been no cases of Covid associated with our sectors.  If you know otherwise please drop me a line.

 

Brexit

  • Below is a very good slide presentation of what employers need to do to know about hiring staff under the new points based immigration system post-December 31st
UK-points-based-Immigration-System-Employer-Partner-Pack-November-202.pdf (18 downloads)

 

Kind regards,

John