Please be assured that we are looking for any news updates at all times and have already written to our contacts in the Cabinet office and BEIS if there should be a lockdown in the new year.
If anything changes in the next few days we will update this page once the facts have been verified and checked.
Coronavirus Bulletin – 21st December 2021
The Chancellor announced a business support package to help those businesses impacted by the latest Omicron variant of Covid-19.
UK wide, the Government is reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS), for businesses with fewer than 250 employees. The scheme will reimburse the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences, for up to 2 weeks per employee. Firms will be eligible for the scheme from the 21st December and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January.
How do i claim?
You’ll need to make sure you’ve already paid your employees’ sick pay before you claim. You can claim for multiple pay periods and employees at the same time. If you make multiple claims, the claim periods can overlap.
To complete your claim you’ll need the start and end dates of the claim period which is the:
- start date of the earliest pay period you’re claiming for – if the pay period started before 13 March you’ll need to use 13 March as the start date
- end date of the most recent pay period you’re claiming for – this must be on or before the date you make your claim (because you can only claim for SSP paid in arrears)
If you have employees off sick and need to claim SSP, its fairly simple to claim back from the government. Please read the following information before you make that claim. Click here to read the graph and go to the claim page.
Coronavirus Bulletin – 9th December 2021
Following the continued concern about the new Omicrom Covid-19 variant, the Prime Minister has announced that England will now move to Plan B measures to help to minimise the spread of the virus.
The new restrictions are:
From Friday 10 December:
- Face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship.
- There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising.
- Face masks will not be required in hospitality settings.
See more information below about face masks in your business
From Monday 13 December: Those who can, will be advised to work from home.
From Wednesday 15 December (subject to parliamentary approval):
- The NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather. this includes unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.
- People will be able to demonstrate proof of two vaccine doses via the app.
- A negative lateral flow test will also be accepted.
Changes to self-isolation rules:
In addition, the Prime Minister urged continued vigilance and caution. Everyone should test using a lateral flow device, particularly before entering a high-risk setting involving people you wouldn’t normally come into contact with, or when visiting a vulnerable person.
Lateral flow devices remain free of charge and can be collected from local pharmacies when you have your 16 digit number. Go to https://test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/collect-lateral-flow-kits
To find a pharmacy go to https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
Updated guidance for England is : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do
For more updated information in Scotland rules relating to Covid-19 go to https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-daily-data-for-scotland/
For more information in Wales relating to Covid -19 go to https://gov.wales/alert-level-0
For more information on rules in Northern Ireland go to https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19
Facemasks to be worn from 30th November
As the UK tries to stay ahead of the new Omnicrom Covid-19 Variant new restrictions have been introduced:
- Face coverings will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport in England from Tuesday 30th November. All hospitality settings will be exempt.
- All international travellers arriving in the UK after 04:00 on Tuesday 30th November must take a PCR test within 2 days of arrival and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. Lateral flow tests will no longer be accepted. Travellers are not permitted to use NHS testing for these tests.
- All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
The Prime Minister also stressed the importance of practicing good hygiene, keeping spaces well ventilated, and wearing a face covering in enclosed or crowded spaces.
Guidelines to wearing face masks
In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a face covering is something which securely covers the nose and mouth. There are many types of face coverings available.
Cloth face coverings and disposable face coverings work best if they are made with multiple layers (at least 2) and form a good fit around the face.
Face coverings should be made of a material that you find comfortable and breathable, such as cotton.
Bandanas or religious garments may be used but are likely to be less effective if they do not fit securely around the face.
Face coverings are not classified as PPE (personal protective equipment) which is used in a limited number of settings to protect wearers against hazards and risks, such as surgical masks or respirators used in medical and industrial settings.
Wearing a face covering can reduce the risk to others and yourself against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of the virus that causes coronavirus infection (COVID-19).
You are expected and recommended to continue wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t usually meet. In particular, where the risk of transmission is likely to be greater.
Face visors, shields and transparent face coverings
A face visor or shield only provides limited protection compared to a face covering. This is because they do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles.
Transparent face coverings can aid communication for those that require lip-reading or facial expressions. However, their effectiveness is not supported by evidence.
To be most effective, a face covering should fit securely around the face to cover the nose and mouth. It should be made of a breathable material capable of filtering airborne particles.
The BFA’s purpose, as a trade body, is to represent all categories of florists. By uniting with other sectors in our industry, listening to feedback, your views, and the needs of our florists we can then form a communication channel between the government and the industry.
Our messages regarding the current Covid-19 situation are all completely impartial and unbiased. Factual information is being shared so that you are well informed and aware of the official guidelines and regulations provided by the Government.
Photo by Fusion Medical Animation