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COVID-19: Latest update on restart plans

Published on: 10 February 2021

COVID-19: Latest update on restart plans

On 27 January, the Prime Minister announced that in the week beginning 22 February the UK Government will set out a roadmap to re-open the economy, society and to begin returning as close to normal as possible.

The Prime Minister of course caveated this by saying; “This will be a timetable that is inevitably going to be subject to adjustment. But I believe it will provide clarity and certainty about the way ahead, a roadmap that we can take together and use as a country to defeat the virus and begin steadily to reclaim our lives.”

Following that announcement, last week British Marine met with policy officials from the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to discuss the recreational boating industry and to ensure our sector is considered as part of this plan for recovery.

During our conversations with DEFRA, British Marine emphasised the need for a clear timetable with advanced restart notice for those operating marinas, hire & charter boat operations, passenger boats and brokerage.

Critically, British Marine also stressed that a joined-up approach between all Government departments is required to ensure clarity and consistency for those operating on our inland waterways and the coast.

DEFRA officials confirmed that any initial announcements made from 22 February are likely to be high level and will not include specific measures for individual sectors.

As a result, British Marine, inland navigation authorities and other representative bodies will be meeting DEFRA officials during the week of 22 February to discuss the framework of the roadmap and how we can start to prepare for the restart across our sector.

As part of British Marine’s discussions with DfT, it was also stressed that the travel exemption to allow business directors bringing jobs and investment to the UK, which had been withdrawn in January, should be reinstated at the earliest opportunity to boost international boat sales and the UK supply chain.

Following the announcement of the roadmap, from 22 February and the planned meetings with Government later that week, British Marine will provide further updates to members on the next stages of recovery.

In the meantime, and until British Marine has a clear understanding of the roadmap and how it will impact the marine sector, members are encouraged to follow all COVID-19 guidance on the British Marine microsite.