Coronavirus news and updates

14 September 2020

Covid-19 – What you can and can’t do

The Scottish Government have updated their ‘can and can’t do’ guidelines to reflect their latest guidance. The sections on seeing friends and family, travel, eating/drinking out, sport and gatherings have been updated to include the rule of 6.

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11 September 2020

Northern Ireland local restrictions

The Northern Ireland Executive have introduced a series of localised restrictions to stem the increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and keep people safe.

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Maximum gathering set at six people from two households

The number of people who can gather together, indoors or outdoors, will be set at maximum of six from two households. These changes will be enforced from Monday (14 September), but people are urged to ‘abide by these stricter new limits immediately.

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Protect Scotland app launches

The Protect Scotland app is now available to download for free via Apple and Google stores. Supported by a dedicated Protect Scotland website, the app is an extra tool complementing existing person-to-person contact tracing which remains the main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.

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7 September 2020

UK Government to fund international Covid-19 studies in Scotland

The UK Government is investing £7.2 million in research projects across the UK, including at the universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde.

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Jobs that qualify for travel exemptions

Find out which jobs qualify for travel exemptions during the coronavirus pandemic.

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4 September 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): local advice and measures

Travel advice and guidance relating to local outbreaks or clusters of coronavirus cases (Updated 3 September).

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1 September 2020

Changes in Job Retention Scheme from 1 September

From 1 September the government will pay 70% and employers will pay 10% of employees’ wages for the time they are being furloughed. Employers will also continue to pay their National Insurance and pension contributions.

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27 August 2020

Face coverings in schools

In light of the latest scientific and public health advice, guidance for pupils and staff on the use of face coverings in schools and on school transport has been updated. The changes will apply from 31 August.

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21 August 2020

Scotland remains in Phase 3 

Scotland will remain in Phase 3 of the route map out of lockdown because Covid-19 remains a significant threat to public health, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on 20 August. 

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Foreign travel health rules extended

Quarantine measures for further countries have been announced. Those travelling abroad should check in advance for any local requirements to quarantine on arrival at their destination.

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18 August 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Scotland's route map – what you can and cannot do

Information about easing the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

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14 August 2020

Updates to quarantine requirements for travellers 

France, the Netherlands, Aruba, Turks and Caicos, Malta and Monaco will be removed from the list of destinations exempt from quarantine requirements due to an increased number of cases of coronavirus (Covid-19).

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11 August 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19): public health measures at borders (international travel) 

Quarantine rules and information on the process for people entering the UK. Andorra, the Bahamas and Belgium were removed from the country exemption list on 8 August.

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Companies House to resume the compulsory strike off process 

From 10 October 2020 the process to strike off companies that are no longer carrying on business or in operation will be resumed. 

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5 August 2020 

Local restrictions introduced in Aberdeen

Following an increase in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in Aberdeen, local restrictions on travel, indoor gatherings between households and the closure of indoor and outdoor hospitality will be introduced in the Aberdeen City local authority area. 

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30 July 2020

Safety at work to calculate risk 

The Scottish Government have introduced a new tool and guidance to help calculate individual risk assessment in the workplace. It is applicable across all industries and should be used by employers to support staff and line managers to understand and carry out effective risk assessments. 

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29 July 2020

Right care, right place

NHS Pharmacy First Scotland offers expert help in the community. People will be able to get healthcare advice and support to treat minor illnesses and common conditions in their local community following the launch of this new service.

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Families to be alerted to additional financial support

The Scottish Government is to actively inform families that they may be eligible for Best Start Foods and the Best Start Grant. A first for social security in Scotland.

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The UK Government further boosts chances of UK receiving Covid-19 vaccine

Deal announced which will secure early access to a promising new coronavirus vaccine, enhancing the UK’s growing portfolio of vaccine candidates. 

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A sample poster from the UK Government's Eat Out to Help out campaign

Eat Out to Help Out

Diners who eat-in will benefit from a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, on food and non-alcoholic drinks, any Monday to Wednesday in August. 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19): shielding advice and support

This advice applies to most people who have been asked to shield. This includes people who are pregnant. It also includes any children and young people who have been asked to continue to shield. 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19): guidance on individual risk assessment for the workplace

Risk assessment guidance and tool for staff across all industries which should be used by employers to support staff and line managers to understand and carry out effective risk assessments. 

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If you've claimed too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

Find out what you need to do if you've claimed too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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28 July 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19): countries and territories exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel

The FCO updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers.

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24 July 2020

Shielding to be paused

People who have been advised to shield because of Covid-19, will no longer have to do so from 1 August.

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Sending your forms to Companies House during the coronavirus outbreak 

As an emergency response to coronavirus (Covid-19), the UK Government has developed a service allowing you to upload a number of completed forms and send them to Companies House digitally. (Updated 23 July). 

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Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy

The UK Government have published and updated the recovery strategy for the UK. The next chapter of the strategy has now been released.

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20 July 2020

Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

Find out which employees you can put on furlough and claim for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Updated 17 July).

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17 July 2020

Construction Scotland – safe operating guidance 

Construction Scotland have updated their guidance (15 July) for the construction sector to allow for Phase 4 of the restart plan to begin.

Access the construction restart guidance here. 

15 July 2020

Scottish Government update construction sector guidance

The Scottish Government has updated their guidance on construction sites and associated works. As of 15 July, the sector is able to proceed into Phase 4 of the Restart Plan.

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Construction moves to next stage of Covid-19 restart after PPE supply assurances 

Close working can now take place on construction sites as the sector commences Phase 4 of its restart plan, the Scottish Government has announced. Until today, Phase 3 of the six-step phased model allowed for ‘steady-state operation’ only where physical distancing can be maintained. The move to the next phase means that close working can now take place on-site – with appropriate PPE use – if necessary. 

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14 July 2020

Companies House to restart the voluntary strike-off process

From 10 September 2020, Companies House will restart the process to dissolve companies that have applied for voluntary dissolution. 

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9 July 2020

Scotland to move into Phase 3 

The Scottish Government is moving into Phase 3 of the route map through and out of the crisis. It mentions that non-essential offices and call centres can re-open following implementation of relevant guidance (including physical distancing) most likely from August. 

They have issued detailed guidance on the phase, view it here. 

Free advice to small business 

The Recovery Advice for Business scheme, supported by the UK Government, provides small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery. 

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8 July 2020

Summer statement plan for Scotland 

The Chancellor’s summer statement was released yesterday announcing a furlough bonus scheme, £2 billion Kickstart scheme to subsidise jobs for young people and 5% VAT cut for the hospitality sector. 

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7 July 2020

PPE expenses during Covid-19

If your employees work in a situation where there is a risk of Covid-19, then PPE is required and must be provided free of charge. Any PPE you provide must fit properly. The provision of PPE to your employees is non-taxable.

If your employee requires PPE to carry out their role and you are unable to provide this, you must reimburse the actual expenses of employees who purchase PPE themselves. This is non-taxable and employees cannot claim tax relief on these expenses from HMRC. 

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6 July 2020

Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

The Scottish Government and Business Gateway have introduced the newly self-employed hardship fund. If you're newly self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 and facing hardship, you will be eligible for a £2,000 grant. Applications are now open and will be managed by Local Authorities. Applications close on 10 July 2020. 

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Companies House guidance 

The 'upload a document' service is now live. It will allow users to upload more form types, including Scottish limited and qualifying partnerships, articles and resolutions. 

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2 July 2020

Final Phase 2 measures confirmed 

The First Minister today announced final Phase 2 measures. These include: 

  • Five mile limit for leisure travel will be lifted 
  • Children aged 11 and under will be able to play outdoors, without physical distancing 
  • Mandatory face coverings in retail settings from Friday 10 July. 

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1 July 2020

Deferral of VAT payments due to Covid-19 

If you’re a UK VAT-registered business that deferred VAT payments between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you now need to: 

  • Set-up cancelled Direct Debits in enough time for HMRC to take payment 
  • Continue to submit VAT returns as normal, and on time 
  • Pay the VAT in full on payments due after 30 June 

Any VAT payments you have deferred between 20 March and 30 June should be paid in full on or before 31 March 2021. 

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Flexible furlough scheme starts today

From 1 July there are changes to the Job Retention Scheme. Furloughed staff can be brought back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked Scheme. 

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Driving and theory tests  

If you’re a critical worker, you can now apply for an emergency driving test and an emergency theory test. Non-emergency tests are currently suspended. 

30 June 2020

SCDI green recovery plan 

The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) has published its plan for a Green Recovery from Covid-19. They are calling Scottish and UK governments to deliver ‘green stimulus’ to kick start the economy, create new jobs and fuel ‘clean growth’. 

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29 June 2020

Safe return to college and university

The Scottish Government has issued guidance which maps out full reopening of Scottish campuses. Topics included are: 

  • Workforce planning and student support 
  • Public health measures 
  • Progressing through the phases 
  • Health and safety. 

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MOT testing to be reintroduced

The UK government has announced that mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August. The move will help ensure that vehicles are kept safe to drive. 

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26 June 2020

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill now an Act 

The act will relieve the burden on businesses during Covid-19 and allow them to focus all their efforts on continuing to operate. This includes: 

  • introduces temporary easements for Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and filing requirements for public limited companies (PLCs) 
  • introduces new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency regime to give companies the time they need to maximise their chance of survival 
  • temporarily suspends parts of insolvency law to support directors during this difficult time. 

Most companies will also be given more time to file their accounts. 

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Paying Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back

If you’ve overclaimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you can either: 

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25 June 2020

Updated information when claiming back statutory sick pay 

Information about employees who have transferred under the TUPE regulations has been added. 

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Skill support for furloughed or those facing redundancy 

The Open University is encouraging those who are furloughed or those facing redundancy due to Covid-19 to apply for a selection of fully funded modules that offer vital post-pandemic skills. 

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24 June 2020

Returning to work safely

The Scottish Government has issued guidance for workers and employers on returning to work safely. The guidance looks at transport, test and trace and offers advice. 

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Companies House guidance 

Users can now file their change of constitution forms using the temporary Upload a document to Companies House service. 

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Scotland route map – dates for Phase 2 and early Phase 3 

The Scottish Government has announced specific dates for the reopening of certain businesses and services. This includes: 

  • 3 July – travel distance relaxed 
  • 6 July – outdoor hospitality 
  • 13 July – all holiday accommodation permitted 
  • 15 July – hairdressers and barbers 
  • 15 July – museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments, libraries. 

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23 June 2020

Return to full-time schooling

The First Minister announced that schools in Scotland will return full time in August if Scotland continues to make progress in suppressing coronavirus. 

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22 June 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19): returning to work safely

The Scottish Government guidance for workers and employers on returning to work safely has been updated and includes details on which sectors are able to restart or can prepare to return to work and how to do this safely. 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19): shielding support and contacts 

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. The Scottish Government has updated their advice and guidance for people in this group. 

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Deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (Covid-19) 

The guidance on the temporary changes to the VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 has been updated with information regarding the ending of the VAT deferral period. 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19): construction sector guidance 

The Scottish Government has published guidance on construction sites and associated works that can continue under specific conditions (updated 22 June).

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NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect advice

Households will be sent information explaining how the Test and Protect system works and setting out what to do if someone develops coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms.

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18 June 2020

Construction sector given green light to move to Phase 3 of restart plan 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced today that Scotland's construction sector is to move into the next phase of its restart plan from Monday 22 June 2020.

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Face coverings mandatory on public transport from 22 June

Face coverings will become mandatory on public transport from Monday 22 June, as part of operators’ preparations for progress towards recovery and to reduce the risk of transmission.

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17 June 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19): letter from the Planning Minister about the role of certification 

Letter to local authorities from the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning Kevin Stewart MSP providing guidance on the role of certification as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19): letter from Building Standards Division about construction industry restart 

Stephen Garvin, Head of the Building Standards Division, has issued a letter to local authorities about the restart of the construction industry and site inspections.

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12 June 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19): construction sector guidance

The Scottish Government has published further guidance on construction sites and associated works that can continue under specific conditions. 

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11 June 2020

Financial support for students 

The Scottish Government has brought forward access of £11.4m of discretionary funds which will be administered by colleges and universities. Colleges now have flexibility to offer funds to help between bursary payments ending in June and Universal Credit payments starting. SAAS have also suspended all debt recovery in respect to grants and bursaries until September for students whose circumstances have changed and may have to return overpayments. 

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9 June 2020

Updated advice for people shielding in Scotland

Outdoor exercise can be taken from later this month. 

People who are shielding are being advised that though they should continue to do so until at least the end of July, they can if they choose, go outdoors to exercise from 18 June while maintaining strict physical distancing. 

Those affected will receive letters from the Chief Medical Officer explaining that the decision on outdoor exercise has been taken after careful consideration by clinical advisors. Prevalence of COVID-19 has decreased and the evidence now shows the risk of outdoor infection is very low if people stay two metres apart. The exercise can be a run, wheel, walk or cycle but those shielding should not meet people from other households. 

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8 June 2020

New health measures for travellers to Scotland 

New public health measures will come into force today (Monday 8 June) to help suppress coronavirus (Covid-19) and prevent new cases being brought into Scotland.

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Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee

The UK Government is to provide guarantees of up to £10 billion to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business to business transactions.

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5 June 2020

Important changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from 1 July 2020

The final date you can furlough an employee for the first time will be Wednesday 10 June. Find out if you're eligible and how much you can claim below.

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Domestic Reverse Charge VAT for construction services – delayed to March 2021

The Revenue and Customs Brief 7 (2020) published by the UK Government explains that the introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services will be delayed from 1 October 2020 until 1 March 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus on the construction sector.

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