COVID-19

On this page you will find all of the BBPA’s briefing on COVID-19 and how to access Government support.

To view the BBPA’s briefings on various issues, such as the  Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, please scroll down this page.

Please click here to find out how to access the various support initiatives from the Government.

Please click here to view all of the BBPA’s member-only guidance. You will find more information on the Job Retention Scheme and Government Grants. If you have forgotten your password or have any issues accessing the Members’ Area please contact Lydia Hall – lhall@beerandpub.com.

Please click here for guidance, from BEIS and PHE, for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please click here for an update from the BBPA on all issues not related to COVID-19.

Beer Destruction

Please click here to view a One-Page Guide for Pub Staff on Destruction of Beer in Cellars.

  • In the case of beer casks the liquid contents can be emptied directly from the container. However, unless pub staff are trained in the use of specialist equipment expressly intended for the purpose of directly decanting beer from a pressurised keg, the only way to safely dispose of keg beer is through the dispense system. Under no circumstances should attempts be made to access the keg via any other means i.e. by attempts to remove the safety spear.

Please click here to view the BBPA Guidelines for Retrieval of Containers & Annex.

Please click here to view the BBPA’s Best Practice for Destruction of Beer in Cellars.

Please click here to view the BBPA’s COVID-19 Dispense System Shut Down Guide.

Please click here to view the BBPA’s Destruction of Beer in Cellars to Reduce Risk of Environmental Damage.

BBPA publishes database of Local Authority links to access the Small Business Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

  • The BBPA have published a database with a link to the relevant section of each local authorities website to claim the Small Business Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. There is also information on the action you need to take for every local authority. To view this database please click here.
  • You will need to log into the Members’ Area of the website to access this document. If you do not currently have log in details or have forgotten your password, please contact Lydia Hall (lhall@beerandpub.com).

The BBPA have prepared a selection of template letters for members and licensees to send to their local representatives, whether it be Members of Parliament of Local Authorities. These letters cover the following:

These will be found as separate technical circulars and are only available for BBPA members.

Government announce significant changes to the business interruption loan schemes set up in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, details can be found here.

  • CBILS to be extended so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating
  • Stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.
  • Provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million. Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest with further details of the scheme expected to be announced later.

HMRC Business Support Helpline – 0800 024 1222

HMRC have opened a dedicated helpline for businesses and the self-employed to answer queries or concerns regarding tax payments and finding solutions including:

  • agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately.

HMRC relax rules on Cellar Destruction with Immediate Effect

  • With immediate effect, HMRC are relaxing rules around destruction of beer in cellars. The relaxation of Section 20.13 in Notice 226 means that HMRC will allow designated pub staff to record and destroy beer in order to facilitate getting excise credit back to brewers. Please find the Government’s guidance here.
  • HMRC are working quickly to update language on the Gov.uk website and remove some confusion about what a brewer can do by way of giving credit to pubs which have received written permission for destruction from the brewer.
  • First and foremost, it is critical that any pub that wishes to destroy ‘unmerchantable’ beer due to Covid-19 closures get written agreement from the brewer, or ensure that their supplier has received written agreement. If all the appropriate steps are taken to sufficiently record the destruction and provide an audit trail for HMRC, the brewer may either credit a pub with the value of the excise duty of any destroyed beer or replace the goods​ with fresh stock when available and safe to deliver. The brewer must provide their customer with evidence of this credit or replacement.
  • Failure to record properly means a brewer will not be able to claim back the excise, and therefore will not be able to pass on credit/replace stock. It is vital that NO destruction is carried out until all the necessary steps are understood, agreed to, and able to be carried out fully in accordance with HMRC requirements.

Offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support from your business

The Government has issued a general request to businesses for support and have published a short online survey that asks if you are able to provide support in any of the following ways. Please click here to complete the survey.

  • hotel rooms
  • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
  • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
  • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
  • social care or childcare
  • medical testing equipment
  • medical equipment design
  • manufacturing equipment
  • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Please click here to read the BBPA’s detailed summary on the Job Retention Scheme.
  • Please click here to view the BBPA’s Q&A on the Job Retention Scheme. To view this document please make sure you are logged in to the BBPA’s Members’ Area.
  • Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or for profit – will be eligible for the scheme.
  • Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off.
  • Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month. This will be initially for 3 months at least and then reviewed.
  • System will be administered by HMRC and should be fully up and running by end of April, but once up and running will be backdated to the beginning of March.
  • This will cover everyone on PAYE including those on zero hours contracts.
  • The Government has published updated guidance on the steps being taken to mitigate the impact upon apprentices and their training as a result of COVID-19, please find it here.
  • In addition, BEIS have published guidance on National Minimum Wage & COVID-19, specifically on the issue of employer loans and pay advances. Please find it here.
  • Please click here for Government guidance on how to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Fund.
  • Please click here for the Government guidance for employees on how can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Fund.

Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to COVID-19.

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. More information from the Government can be found here and you can claim a grant through the self-employment Income Support Scheme here.

  • The Government will be establishing the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, with those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years.
  • This will cover 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.
  • The Scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply.
  • Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.
  • HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.
  • Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.
  • Additional support around increasing working tax credit, suspending minimum income floor and deferring tax self-assessment until 2021.

List of alternative job offers

  • The BBPA has collated a list of alternative job offers from various companies for beer and pub companies to use, please click here to view the list. Furloughed staff, please note – Before taking a second or alternative job, please check makes sure that this does not affect the terms of your furlough agreement.

New COVID-19 guidance for food businesses

  • FSA has now published guidance to assist food businesses in responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the guidance can be found here. The new guidance has been developed with Defra and covers a range of areas including good hygiene practice, management of employee sickness, and social distancing for specific food business settings.  The BBPA have also published some more general guidance on food safety for food delivery, please find this here.
  • FSA has also reiterated that it is very unlikely that people can catch COVID-19 from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.

Pubs can still operate as takeaway’s 

  • Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so, for a period of up to 12 months. This will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect.
  • People must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafes or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food.
  • Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their license does not already permit.
  • More detail can be found here.

The Enforcement of Business Closures

  • The legal requirement forcing listed businesses to close, including pubs and hotels came into force on 21st March. Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, with police support if appropriate, will work together to issue prohibition notices challenging unsafe behaviours where businesses do not follow these restrictions. The fines for non-compliance are unlimited.
  • Off-licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries, are still allowed to remain open.
  • Please find more information from Poppelston Allen here and the Government here.

Support for Businesses

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will not be interest free, as previously planned, for 6 months – it will now be interest free for twelve months.
  • Information on the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, including which lenders to contact, is available on Bank of England’s website. Businesses can talk to their lenders from the start of the day about accessing these loans.
  • Information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan is available through the British Business Bank.
  • Information on the Government’s Grant Funding Scheme, including the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund is available herethis guidance is for England only.
  • Wales and Scotland have announced they will be providing similar support, though with slightly different approaches. Government guides for devolved governments can be found here for Wales, and here for Scotland.
  • The BBPA have condensed the recent Government guidance for both the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund into a one-pager, please find it hereThe grants are worth either £10,000 or £25,000 depending on the grant and your rateable values. The briefing applies to England only, and the BBPA notes ultimately it is distributed by your Local Authority. Please do ensure you get the grant money you are entitled to given the criteria and follow up with your LA.
  • The BBPA recently received information suggesting that the guidance provided by BEIS to Local Authorities on how to access the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants will be bound by EU State Aid rules. The State Aid exemption provided by the Commission allows companies to receive up to 800,000 Euros.
  • Next quarter’s VAT will be deferred until the end of June for all businesses, and businesses will have until the end of the year to pay. The latest guidance from HMRC can be found here.

Preserving Pubs Code Rights During the COVID-19 Crisis

  • The Code Compliance Officers within the six regulated Pub-Owning Businesses (POB) have worked with the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) to develop an agreed declaration that confirms the protection of tenants’ rights under the Code during this period, yet also sets out how certain deadlines will be paused. This declaration effectively stops the clock from 16th March 2020 on many Code deadlines that apply to tenants making arbitration referrals during this emergency period, and provides safeguards relating to specific MRO rights.
  • These arrangements provide additional protections and expressly do not prevent any tenant from taking any available Code step to access their rights. The declaration has been signed by Directors from each POB.
  • The public statement from the PCA is available here and a summary of the declaration is available here.

Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) – steps to support copyright licence holders

Following discussions with MPLC, they are introducing a number of measures to support pubs and other venues that pay their fees and licences during this time:

  • Temporarily suspending calls to the sector about invoice balances, until 30 April 2020. They will then review the situation and if appropriate, extend the suspension.
  • Pubs can delay payment of their licence.
  • MPLC confirms that pubs will be left at “no financial disadvantage” for the period that the property has been closed following the Government’s guidance.
  • If your latest invoice has already been paid then when the licence is due for its next renewal, MPLC undertakes to ensure that the business is at no financial disadvantage for the period that it was closed.
  • If you have not yet paid your latest invoice, please contact MPLC’s Client Services team to discuss how they can help (ukoperations@mplc.com).
  • An immediate freeze has been put on any late payment fees.
  • A copy of MPLC’s full statement is available here.

Protocol for Licensing Authorities – issued by the Institute of Licensing

  • Last week the IoL issued its protocol for Licensing Authorities, setting out how they could continue to undertake their roles on licensing matters during the current circumstances. It details a number of steps that Authorities can take, suggesting alternative approaches to their normal procedures where possible.  The BBPA have summarised the key points of interest in a document, please find this here.

Guidance on Deferral of VAT Payments

  • HMRC have updated their guidance for businesses wanting to defer VAT payments.  You can find the guidance here.

Apprenticeships

  • DfE has published a video showing employers how to use pause & stop in the apprenticeship service to record a break in learning. You can view the video here.
  • This video takes employers through the new measures relating to breaks in learning that were recently detailed in the apprenticeship programme response to COVID-19 document.  Also explained is how to pause or stop an apprentice record in the apprenticeship service.

Chancellor’s decides to not cancel March Beer Duty Bill

  • The BBPA therefore urge those who have not arranged deferral to do so immediately with HMRC by calling 03000 583 920.

VE/VJ Day 75 Licensing Hours Extensions

  • The Government had previously announced extended opening hours for licensed premises for VE Day in May and consulted on an extension for VJ day in August. The Home Office have announced that, given the official advice to limit the spread of Covid-19, they will no longer proceed with these plans. The national commemoration events to mark VE Day 75 will be scaled back in order to protect the health and wellbeing of the Second World War generation and members of the public.
  • As this is a developing situation, if circumstances allow leading up to VJ day, premises may wish to apply for a Temporary Event Notice to extend their opening hours.
  • The UK Government and the Devolved Administrations are working on new plans to ensure the public can still thank the Second World War generation on VE Day in May and provide the fitting tribute they deserve.

MOT due dates extended

  • From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. More information, from the Government, can be found here.

Companies House – accounts

  • The Government has issued guidance to companies that they will be granted a three month extension for filing their accounts with Companies House. The guidance can be found here.

Changes to Insolvency and Company Rules

  • Wrongful trading: There will be a temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions for company directors to remove the threat of personal liability during the pandemic, applied retrospectively from 1 March 2020. 
  • New restructuring plan and moratorium: The government previously announced plans to introduce new restructuring procedures in August 2018. New legislation will implement these plans, including the ability to bind dissenting stakeholders to a new restructuring plan (including “cross-class cram-down”) and a short moratorium or “breathing space” that will give companies in difficulty time to explore options for rescue. This will include protection of supplies to enable companies to continue trading during the moratorium.
  • The Government have also announced that companies required to hold Annual General Meetings will be able to do so flexibly in a matter compatible with public health guidance such as holding the AGM online, or by phone using only proxy voting.
  • The UK government has announced changes to insolvency laws in response to COVID-19, giving firms extra time and space to weather the storm. The UK government plans to bring forward legislation to this effect “at the earliest opportunity”. Exact timing remains uncertain. Provisions will be included to enable the changes to be extended if necessary. Parliament is currently in recess until 21 April.

Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed to support key industries during COVID-19

  • Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next two leave years. The Government will amend regulations to allow annual leave to be carried over into the next two years. This will ensure workers won’t lose their leave entitlements and will give flexibility to business at a time when it is needed most. More details can be found here.

PPL PRS – collection of copyright licensing fees

Following the BBPA’s discussions with PPL/PRS they have issued a COVID-19 statement for customers that confirms:

  • They will not be charging customers for their music usage during the period they are closed (temporarily or permanently) due to COVID-19;
  • They will be making changes to their payment policies to introduce further flexibility, including deferred payments, for customers during this difficult period; and they have temporarily suspended late payment surcharges.
  • A copy of the full statement and FAQs can be found on their website here. However, if you have a specific query or request, please contact PPL/PRS in the first instance.

Employers do not have to report gender pay gaps

  • Enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines are suspended for this reporting year (2019/20) due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The decision means there will be no expectation on employers to report their data.

ACAS advisory webinar – recording available

  • ACAS have published a recording of their recent COVID-19 advisory webinar for employers.  The webinar sets out steps that can help to reduce the spread of the virus and covered the following topics:
  • effective ways of communicating with employees
  • self-isolating, time off, sickness certification and sick pay
  • altering working hours, shift patterns and working arrangements
  • remote working and the use of technology

The webinar can be viewed here once you have registered.

Moving Goods Through Customs

The Government has announced that if you are moving goods through customs and are no longer able to comply with a condition of your authorisation because of Coronavirus, you can get permission from your supervising office in HMRC or Border Force to temporarily vary the conditions of your authorisation.

You can apply to temporarily vary the following conditions of your customs approvals:

  • changes to site opening hours
  • the need for staff to be on site in order to carry out a particular function if that function can be completed remotely
  • the specific areas within an approved location in which customs controls must be conducted
  • reducing dwell times to allow quicker permission to progress
  • time limits for bills of discharge and throughput periods for special procedures
  • how to process goods held in temporary storage over 90 days

You can apply to temporarily change your authorisation by emailing your supervising office with the subject ‘COVID-19 customs easement request’. Applications will be looked at on a case by case basis

Please click here to view the Government guidance on on moving goods through customs during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Please click here to view the Government guidance on customs authorisations.

Guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK

  • Businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses and short term lets) should now take steps to close for commercial use as quickly as is safely possible.
  • Full consideration should be given to the possible exclusions for residents that should be allowed to remain. Any decision to close should be implemented in full compliance with the social distancing guidelines.
  • What the exclusions mean: Hotels and other accommodation providers should be able to remain open if:
    • They are part of the response to support key workers or vulnerable groups.
    • There is a specific need for some or all of the site to remain open (for example they are housing people who have been flooded out of their homes, being used by public services to provide emergency accommodation or are not able to return to their primary residence).
    • If businesses are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open.

Guidance for hotels serving food 

  • Hotels and accommodation providers that are remaining open to house key workers, vulnerable groups and other exempted groups will still be able to serve food, subject to the social distancing guidelines (for example by providing a takeaway service, ‘grab and go’ service or room service).
  • Workplace canteens can also stay open where required but must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Guidance on Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Government has produced guidance on how to protect people from the psychological impacts of Coronavirus. Please click here to view the guidance. The key suggestions are:

    • Consider how to connect with others
    • Help and support others
    • Talk about your worries
    • Look after your physical wellbeing
    • Look after your sleep

Mypubshop.com

A new initiative has been launched that will help any pubs that wish to operate as shops. Powered by StarStock, mypubshop.com will give pubs across the country the ability to take and process orders online.This is intended to provide them with income whilst they are unable to operate as pubs. If you are interested and would like to register for the scheme, please visit its website here.

Occyupd.com

If you would be interested in making additional income by hiring out your premises whilst it is closed, Occupyd can help facilitate this. For instance closed pubs could be used by food delivery businesses. Occyupd are seeing huge demand for commercial kitchens to support food delivery and this could provide you a valuable short term income stream. Please visit Occupyd to find out more.

  • Pubs pledge to continue actively helping Government manage COVID-19, but warn new restrictions will halt their recovery without further support

    09 September 2020

    BBPA responds to Prime Minister’s announcement on social gathering changes and mandatory use of test and trace  The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today responded to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on the changes to social gathering rules that will affect pubs. In his speech, the Prime Minister confirmed that the maximum number of people who can gather together will reduce from thirty to six, although this will exclude single households and support bubbles consisting already of more than six people and some exclusions. The Prime Minister also announced the mandatory use of test and trace by hospitality businesses. Responding to the announcement on the changes to social gatherings, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “It is understandable that the Government are concerned about the recent rise in COVID cases. This concern is recognised by our sector and we will play an active role in helping Government manage this rise in infections by continuing to adhere to the current guidelines as well as embracing the new ones. “It is important to understand that the changes to social gatherings announced today will have an immediate cooling effect on public confidence to go out and visit our pubs. And will have a direct impact on trade that will be felt hard across an industry that is already struggling to get back on its feet. At such a delicate point in our recovery after a steady start this summer, as we head into Autumn and Winter where we expect trade to already slow down, this is very concerning. “With the announcements made today pubs and breweries will need much more support from the Government if they are to survive. An extension on business rates relief, continuation of the VAT cut to food and soft drinks, a sector specific furlough extension and a significant beer duty cut are needed now. These measures, along with the welcomed compensation for businesses closed as a result of local lockdowns announced earlier today by The Treasury, will help pubs survive, protect jobs and ensure they can continue to serve our communities. “Without this support from Government, and a clear message that pubs remain open for business and that the public should support them, our sector is in for a very rough end to an already devastating year. “It fully remains the case that, by following the existing guidelines, pubs remain an entirely safe place for people to meet up at. To reopen every pub had to complete a risk assessment and put measures in place to ensure the safety of customers. With these measures in place, and pubs’ active participation in test and trace, pub goers can rest assured they are safe.”   In response to the mandatory participation of NHS test and trace in pubs and hospitality businesses across England, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “As one of the few sectors actively participating in test and trace, pubs have already been fully playing their part to ensure people follow the safety guidelines and contain the spread of the virus. “Our sector will continue to play a leading role in supporting test and trace and all our members and the overwhelming majority of pubs across the UK are already using the test and trace system. In fact, pubs have been commended by Matt Hancock and Public Health England for their diligence and proactivity in working with NHS test and trace in England. “We implore any pub not confident on if they are following the existing or new rules correctly to get in touch with us or one of the many trade associations out there who will be happy to help. “Of course, it is important to remember that pub customers have a key role to play too in following the rules, and this means fully participating with test and trace.”  

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  • BBPA responds to changes to social gatherings

    09 September 2020

    Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "This announcement came as a surprise, but it is clear that the Government are concerned about the recent rise in COVID cases. We need to fully assess the detail of the new restrictions when the Prime Minister speaks later today. As one of the few sectors participating in track and trace the pub sector has been fully playing it’s part in ensuring people follow guidance to contain the spread of the virus up to this point and we will continue to do so. "The impact of these new announcements can have a cooling effect on public confidence. This restriction comes at a delicate point in our pub recovery after a steady start this summer. We were already worried about levels of trade moving into Autumn and Winter. Pubs will need more support from Government with continued business rates relief, VAT cuts and flexible furlough, as well as a significant cut in beer duty to help them survive, protect jobs and continue to serve communities. We need the Government to send the clear message that pubs remain open for business and the public should continue to support them."

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