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Welcome to the Coronavirus Hub (Last Updated: 15/10/20)

Accessible to all, it is here that we will be sharing the very latest Government advice, together with business support tools, guidance and best practice.

This webpage is being updated constantly. So please keep an eye on the information categorised to the right-hand side, where you will find FAQs and where applicable, a list of British Marine members who are able to provide you with 1-2-1 support.

15/10/20 - Updates on the latest Scottish restrictions announced 7/10/2020

15/10/20 - Maintaining records of staff customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace - Operations Guidance

15/10/20 - Defer your Self Assessment payment on account due to coronavirus - Financial Guidance

15/10/20 - Links to detailed guidance on the Local COVID Alert Levels Added - Operations Guidance

13/10/20 - Job Support Scheme Guidance - Financial Guidance

13/10/20 - What help is available for the self-employed - Financial Guidance

13/10/20 - System of local COVID alert levels in England - Operations Guidance

13/10/20 - Visa Guidance - Operations Guidance

13/10/20 - Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme - Financial Guidance

13/10/20 - New guidance on Job Retention Bonus - Financial Guidance

Don't forget, our Membership Services team is also fully operational and on standby to take your calls (01784 223663/ We offer a wide range of services including legal advice, technical guidance and crisis management support.

Government announcement 12/10/20

The Prime Minister has today set out how the government will further simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England.

The Prime Minister has announced the new three tier Alert System in outline, but undoubtedly there more detail that will follow over the next few days.


Three Tier Alert Level System

The Government announced the new three Tier System for Coronavirus Control, which will come into effect in Wednesday.  Every part of England will be designated as of the following three Alert zones:


Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know

Information on local COVID alert levels, including what they mean and what the different levels are

The most important restrictions relate to Very High Alert Level area and advise against non-essential travel in or out of the area and staying overnight in or outside the area

Local COVID Alert Level - Medium

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
  • People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors


Local COVID Alert Level - High

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This means the following additional measures are in place:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.


Local COVID Alert Level - Very High

This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.

The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

Regulations for all three Covid local alert levels are being laid today. They will be debated and voted on tomorrow, before coming into force on Wednesday. People will be able to check what alert level any particular areas is in through an online postcode checker

Job Support Scheme Guidance Updated

The Guidance for the Job Support Scheme has been amended to include businesses required to close as a result of the new Alert Scheme. It has also been updated to clarify the support for businesses with different rateable values

    • Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month).
    • Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month).
    • Properties with an rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).

Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme

The Government has published guidance on the Test and Trace Payment Support Scheme. People contacted through the Test and Trace system in England and told that they need to self-isolate  are eligible for a £500 payment if they meet the following criteria:
    • they’re employed or self-employed
    • they’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
    • they’re currently receiving at least one of the following:
      • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit


People in England who do not fulfil the above criteria for the Test and Trace Support Payment, could be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if they meet the following criteria:


  • they have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • they are employed or self-employed
  • they are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • they are not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit
  • they are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are self-isolating


Visa Guidance Update

The guidance on applying for visas has been updated to say that customers can now apply for a visit visa from any VAC


Government announcement 24/09/20

The Chancellor of the Exchequer had made a statement setting out further economic measures to support businesses and workers as we enter the winter period. Please see the keys point below.

VAT reduction extended for tourism and hospitality businesses

  • The VAT reduction for the tourism and hospitality sectors is being extended. The level of VAT will now stay at 5% for eligible businesses until the end of March 2021.

New Job Support Scheme

  • The Chancellor announced a new Job Support Scheme to support businesses facing falling demand as a result of the pandemic.
  • Businesses in every part of the UK must pay employees their wages for the time they spend working. The rules will say that employees must work at least one third of their usual hours. The support scheme will then see the Government and employer pay a further third of the hours not worked. 
  • All SMEs will be eligible; however larger firms must be able to evidence that the pandemic has had a significant impact and led to reduced turnover.
  • Scheme will start on 1st November. 

Self-Employed Income Support

  • British Marine understands that the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme is being extended and will cover 20% of average monthly trading profits. This will be provided in the form of a Government grant.

Delays to VAT and loan repayments

  • The announcement also confirmed that businesses will be given more time to pay back coronavirus loans, including Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans.
  • Businesses will also be able to pay the VAT they deferred and, instead, make a series of interest free payments and extend their outstanding bill over 12 months from next January.

New Restrictions and the 'Rule of Six'

Earlier this month Boris Johnson announced new restrictions on social gatherings in England, introducing the so-called rule of six. This new rule limits the numbers of people that can gather in social settings. It took effect on Monday 14 September - meaning it is now not possible to gather in groups greater than six.

The new rule replaces the previous advice on the size of gatherings and covers both indoor and outdoor social settings. Some businesses are now legally required to collect contact details for their staff and customers, and to retain these for a period of 21 days. More information on the requirements and the NHS QR code and app which should be used wherever possible can be found here.

Our members in England should note that following the statement from the Prime Minister on 22 September, face coverings have become mandatory in more settings and the advice is, once again, to work from home wherever possible. 

These measures apply in England, and in the devolved nations there is some divergence. You can find more information about the situation in the Devolved Administrations on the related pages.

British Marine successfully campaigns for VAT reduction to apply to hire holiday boat sector

British Marine has secured a welcome win for the holiday hire boat sector as HMRC reverse their decision on the applicability of the VAT rate reduction. HMRC have now confirmed that the temporary reduction to 5% for holiday accommodation does apply to those hiring out boats (inland and coastal) which are to be used for overnight accommodation. 

On 14 July, confirmation was received from HMRC that the reduction of VAT to 5% for holiday accommodation would not apply to those businesses hiring recreational craft with overnight accommodation. British Marine immediately mobilised to challenge this position taken by HMRC with the belief that by not including the leisure marine industry within the scope of holiday accommodation for VAT purposes, HMRC would be supporting anti-competitive activity by favouring other industries in the tourism sector. 
An emergency meeting hosted by British Marine along with representatives of the trade formed the basis for lobbying HMRC to ensure a level playing field for all holiday accommodation providers.

HMRC have now officially published official confirmation in VAT Notice 709/3, specifically under section 5.1, which says: 

“The hire of a boat will qualify for the temporary reduced rate provided that it is suitable for holiday accommodation and is being held out in this way. Boats being hired for a day to enjoy the activity of sailing for example will not qualify for the temporary reduced rate as they are not being used for holiday accommodation."
British Marine and HMRC continue to work together to develop further leisure marine industry guidance to ensure that other parts of our industry, such as mooring providers, are not treated unfairly and are aligned with other sectors, such as caravan parks.

Further information for eligible businesses

For those members who are eligible to reduce their VAT to 5% for qualifying goods and services (such as holiday accommodation in houseboats or food in restaurants), British Marine’s VAT advisors, PKF Francis Clark have provided a useful update for members.

Members can also contact PKF Francis Clark directly for further assistance.  Please follow the link below for more information and to take advantage of this service.

For the sake of clarity the new VAT rate is applicable is on all invoices raised on or after 15 July 2020. Any invoices raised prior to this date a 20% VAT rate is applicable.

Where a price has been agreed with a customer, but no invoice raised, British Marine believes that the price should now be the agreed price plus 5% VAT. To ensure that customers are treated fairly there should be no alteration of the price (excluding VAT) to reflect the change in VAT. During this time, members should also remind themselves of British Marine’s code of practice which requires members to treat customers fairly and courteously.

Schedule 3, Section 2.2 Dealing with Customers states:

i) Members should strive to maintain the best practicable standard of service to their customers, having regard to the nature and price of the goods and services supplied, at all times. Customers must always be treated fairly and courteously. 
ii) Members shall not deliberately mislead their customers in any way and must ensure that all promotional material is accurate.  
iii) Members shall provide their customers with accurate and reliable information as to price, specification and time of delivery of their products or services.  

To view our full Code of Practice, please visit   

What help is available from the Government? 

British Marine would encourage its members to visit our list of Frequently Asked Questions for further information on the support available and details of how they should access this support. 

Full details of the measures announced by Government can be found here

How British Marine can help you

We would encourage our members to read the most up to date information and advice from the Government. Members can visit the dedicated NHS webpage which provides further information on symptoms and what to do if you think you might have the Coronavirus.

For advice on hire conditions and cancellations related to COVID-19, members should contact our membership services team for details of the Epoq legal helpline.

Please contact us If your business is affected to ensure we can discuss the support available with you.  

The information on this webpage is provided as general guidance. Although British Marine tries to ensure that all of the information is accurate and up to date, this cannot be guaranteed owing to the very fast moving situation. Members should review the Government’s full guidance themselves by following the links in this webpage and should keep up to date with the Government’s latest announcements. The information on this webpage should not be construed as constituting professional advice and we would always advise that members consider seeking appropriate professional advice before taking or refraining from taking any action.

Maritime UK launches Diversity in Maritime BAME Network

29 Jul 2020

British Marine is pleased to share the news that Maritime UK, the umbrella body for the £46bn maritime sector, has today (Thursday 30 July) launched a BAME in Maritime Network as part of the Diversity in Maritime programme.

Changes to the Domestic Solid Fuels Standards set out by UK Government

28 Jul 2020

The UK Government has published a draft Statutory Instrument which is designed, once implemented, to restrict the sale of some types of solid fuels which are used for domestic purposes. The purpose is to improve air quality and prevent the release of harmful air pollutants.

Essential HSE Updates – COVID Stakeholder Bulletin & Brexit Transition Ending

27 Jul 2020

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has posted some key information on COVID workplace and transport safety and Brexit following the end of the transition period.

British Marine VAT lobbying win

23 Jul 2020

HMRC reverse their decision on the applicability of the VAT rate reduction.

canal holiday

British Marine receives clarity on the reduction in VAT for holiday accommodation

15 Jul 2020

On 8 July 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer provided an update on the measures HM Treasury would take to support businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic.

HSE survey response

HSE releases COVID-19 response survey

13 Jul 2020

The HSE has released a survey that focuses on the response and information given by the Government to the marine industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Southampton International Boat Show postponed until 2021

09 Jul 2020

Following the COVID-19 guidelines regarding large scale gatherings, British Marine released last Friday that the 52nd edition of the Southampton International Boat Show will be postponed until September 2021.


Chancellor sets out VAT cut for tourism sector and plan for UK jobs

09 Jul 2020

Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer provided an update on the measures HM Treasury would take to support businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic.

BBC Radio Solent Features British Marine’s Summer on the Water campaign

BBC Radio Solent Features British Marines Summer on the Water campaign

08 Jul 2020

Did you catch British Marine's CEO, Lesley Robinson talking about the 'Summer on the Water' campaign on BBC Radio Solent last week?

Lutine Lineslip Regatta 2019

New insurance provider joins British Marine

08 Jul 2020

Stoneways Marine is an insurance provider in the marine industry, stepping into the market with a wealth of experience.