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Coronavirus latest advice guidance

News & Updates

Get the Latest news & updates from NCASS



Latest advice and guidance - Coronavirus

by Charlotte Anderson | Mar 11, 2020
LATEST UPDATE               

13th March 2020

Latest advice regarding pitch fees and cancellations.
The mobile catering sector, so reliant on the summer season, has been understandably concerned about money already invested and the prospects for the year.

NCASS have received a significant number of calls and messages from concerned customers looking for advice, support and above all clarity.

We've written an article covering what NCASS are doing, what actions you should take and other considerations regarding mitigating risks during this turbulant time.




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PREVIOUS UPDATES:

12th March 2020 Update:

In an interview with Boris Johnson, Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Offer has said:

"In this country, we have modellers looking at what we think will happen with the virus. We've looked at what sorts of interventions might help manage this as we go forward...and in general...big gatherings are not seen to be something which is going to have a big effect."

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Budget 2020

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to protect the UK economy from the coronavirus; emphasising that whist “for a period, it is going to be tough…it will be temporary.”

We know this is a nerve-wracking time and we are continuing dialogue with events and festival associations such as the AFO, EIF, NOEA and ASAO, to find solutions to the problems posed by Covid-19 for our sector, such as fees and potential cancellations.

See below for the stand-out points from the budget, which as expected, was heavily focused on Covid-19.

Sick Pay

  • ESA: If you are self-employed and have paid National Insurance contributions for the last two years, you are entitled to Employment Support Allowance from the first day you’re off. The current rates are: up to £57.90 a week if you’re aged under 25 and up to £73.10 if you’re aged 25 or over.
  • SSP will now be paid from the first day an employee is off work. People who self-isolate will also be entitled to SSP from day one. You can now request a sick note by calling 111.
  • The current rate of SSP is £94.25 per week.
  • The government will refund businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of paying employees’ SSP, up to a maximum of 14 days.

Personal Tax

  • The National Insurance threshold will be raised from £8,632 to £9,500 per year from April 5th.

Businesses and Employers

  • A “Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme” will support up to a further £1bn lending to small businesses. The government will guarantee bank loans on amounts up to £1.2m. The government will cover bank losses up to 80%.
  • Business rates will be abolished for small businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries. The cut applies to premises with a rateable value of up to £51,000.
  • Pubs with a rateable value greater than £51,000 get a business rate discount of £5,000 – up from £1,000.
  • Small business that are eligible for business rates relief, will receive a £3,000 cash grant.
  • The government’s Time to Pay service will be scaled up, allowing businesses and the self-employed to defer tax payments.

Duty

  • Fuel duty has been frozen.
  • Beer, wine and cider duty rise will be cancelled.
  • The tax on Red Diesel has remained at 11.1p per litre, compared with 57.7p for standard diesel.
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The Events Industry Forum (of which we are members) have today (9th March) sent a letter to government requesting a meeting to address the potential impact of COVID-19 on our industry. We will keep you up to date with any responses and developments as and when they happen.

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As you know, we are consulting with various stakeholders including Government and event associations and have two key updates to share with you (6th March)

1. Covid-10 has now been classified as a pandemic - does you have business interruption insurance and does your policy cover against pandemics?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have commented that: “Commercial insurance policies provide cover against a wide range of risks, that can be tailored to the needs of individual businesses, including extensions to cover. Businesses who are concerned about this should check the scope of their cover, and speak to their insurance adviser or broker.

“It may be possible to buy consequential business interruption cover for notifiable diseases as an extension to a business insurance policy, subject to any policy terms and conditions. Standard business insurance policies are designed and priced to cover standard risks, not those that are very unlikely, such as the effects of COVID-19.”

We advise you to check with your insurance company to check if you're covered in the incident of COVID-19 forcing a business closure.


2. Statutory sick pay will now stand from day one - key information for your employees

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told members of Parliament in an update that “I can today (4th March) announce that the Health Secretary will bring forward, as part of our emergency legislation measures, to allow the payment of statutory sick pay from the very first day you are sick instead of four days under the current rules,” he went on to say that “No-one should be penalised for doing the right thing.”

Current guidance:

There is currently no additional advice from deputy chief medical officer that differs from what we shared with you on the 2nd of March (see below) - there is currently no rationale for shutting down events, despite fears over the coronavirus.

The deputy chief medical officer stated on the 2nd of March that there is no rationale for shutting down events, despite fears over the coronavirus. At the time of writing, the Deputy Chief Medical Offer, Jonathan Van-Tam argued that the cancellation of events is unnecessary:

“Based on the biomathematical models of the virus’ spread, the current guidance is that stopping events is not necessary. The principal places of infection are the home, schools and workplace. With the virus having a relatively small radius of infection (two metres), pubs and public transport were noted as being more likely to be a source of transmission than events. The government will look at the evidence on a case by case basis as the situation unfolds,”

The day to day:

We advise businesses to be extra vigilant in their adherence of both food hygiene and personal hygiene.

Effective handwashing is essential in preventing bacteria spreading to food. The appropriate technique can be found on the FSA website. 

The government’s Coronavirus Action Plan can be found here. It is a comprehensive source of information about the virus and the phased approach that the Government will implement if, and when the disease becomes established in the UK.

We have collated the latest advice and guidance from industry associations and stakeholders below:

This is the AIF’s guidance regarding Insurance specifically is as follows:

AIF (Association for Independent Festivals) is advised that all event cancellation insurance policies that are bound from now on (until further notice) will have the below (or a similar) exclusion in them. Insurance brokers are being told by underwriters that this is mandatory and non-negotiable until more is known about the virus.

Communicable disease is a standard exclusion in all contingency insurance policies and very few festival organisers have historically bought the additional cover. A few festivals (mainly worried about foot and mouth disease) have previously bought the cover.

Brokers can still provide communicable disease cover and it will include foot and mouth and other diseases but will now include the following (or a similar) exclusion.

Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, this policy excludes losses:

(i) directly or indirectly arising from any fear or threat (whether actual or perceived) of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or any mutant variation thereof

(ii) directly or indirectly caused by, resulting from or in connection with any action taken in controlling, preventing, suppressing or in any way relating to any outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or any mutant variation thereof

(iii) directly or indirectly caused by the imposition of quarantine or restriction in movement of people or animals by any national or international body or agency pertaining to any outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or any mutant variation thereof

(iv) directly or indirectly caused by any travel advisory or warning being issued by a national or international body or agency pertaining to any outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or any mutant variation thereof and in respect of (ii) to (iv) any fear or threat thereof (whether actual or perceived).”

Latest statement from Giles Insurance:

With regards to insurance, a caterer’s liability insurance does not cover event cancellation.

Our insurance partner, Giles Insurance has provided the following clarification regarding Covid-19 and events insurance:

“Cancellation insurance excludes communicable disease when such leads to the restriction of movement of people by any authority (epidemic or pandemic) so I’m afraid COVID-19 is now excluded from cover. This exclusion has been contained within cancellation polices since the SARS outbreak nearly 20 year ago.

Some clients have since (the introduction of the exclusion) asked us to extend cover to include communicable disease for additional premium, but even then cover is very restrictive – it responds to closure of the event or venue by order of the government, so not reduced attendance as a result of travel bans. Fear of disease can never be covered, in the same way that fear of terrorism is not insurable. Reduced attendance due to travel advisories is not covered as the CD exclusion applies to this extension in the same way as it does the core cover

As you can imagine, I’m afraid that we can no longer provide cover for COVID-19 as it is a known circumstance – this has been the case since early January 2020.”

In light of the current situation it is difficult to give blanket guidance and we would advise you to seek confirmation from the events you are trading at as to what their individual situation may be with regards to cancellation.

The most recent statement from EIF is:

On 2nd March 2020, members of the Events Industry Forum (EIF) joined a conference call with the Deputy Chief Medical officer with regards to the potential risks of Coronavirus to events. The advice was as follows:

  • There is some evidence that it is very rare for those under 25 to get Coronavirus.
  • The vast majority of those catching Coronavirus will suffer not more than typical cold symptoms and then get better. Recovery is about a week.
  • A small proportion of people – those with underlying symptoms (diabetics etc) and elderly over 60 - at greater risk. The main risk is severe pneumonia.
  • 98% of those catching Coronavirus will just get better.
  • The most likely places for the virus to spread are in the home, at school or in the workplace.
  • It is highly unlikely people will pick up the virus walking in the street or shopping etc.
  • Transmission is generally by close contact.
  • Equally it is less likely they will pick the virus up at outdoor events than on a crowded underground or in a packed pub after a football match.
  • There is currently no plan to ban any events in the UK. 
  • Washing hands is important.
  • Generally, the advice is that people should continue to go about their normal lives but if they feel unwell they should stay at home.
  • Government may issue specific advice for vulnerable groups, but nothing is planned at the moment.
  • It is unlikely that the UK Government will follow others in banning events, such as football matches, as the risk of catching the virus is low and they are keen for people to continue to live their lives normally.


The most recent statement from AFO is:


The advice from The Association of Independent Festivals mirrors that of the government. Chair of the AIF, Steve Heap told us: “What we are saying is do not cancel anything. And if HM government use their war footing powers to stop public events, then we will recommend postponement, NOT cancellations, so that events can transfer business to next year, or later in the year if possible.”

A total of 13,525 people in the UK had been tested for Covid-19 at the time of writing. 13,485 of those cases were confirmed to be negative, whilst 40 were positive.

UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk in the UK from low to moderate. We will be updating our members on changes in figures and risk as they happen. In the meantime, general information regarding Covid-19, i.e. numbers of cases etc. are available via www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public.

Up to date information regarding UK events can be found at: 
https://www.festivalorganisers.org/news

We understand that this is a difficult time for you and leaves our sector in an uncertain position.

We will update you as soon as we have more information and, in the meantime, we will continue to liaise with government and industry associations to give you as much guidance as possible
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