Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find answers to the most common questions we get asked from businesses about COVID-19

As the situation continuously changes day-by-day and more information becomes available, we will update this page to answer the most frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the information you need below, please email us and we will do our best to answer your question. 

  • What businesses are allowed to reopen? Toggle accordion content
    • COVID 19 – The Next Chapter     The Government has announced that:

    From 17th July:

    • Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are now allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate that it has followed the Covid-19 guidance.
    • Government will advise people they may use public transport, while encouraging them to consider alternative means of transport where possible.  

    From 1st August: 

    • Employers will have more discretion on how they ensure employees can work safely. Working from home is one way to do this, but workplaces can also be made safe by following COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

    From 15th August, at the earliest: 

    • Most remaining leisure settings, namely bowling, skating rinks and casinos, will be reopened accompanied by COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This will not include particularly high-risk activities and settings such as nightclubs, which will be kept under review.
    • Indoor performances to a live audience will restart in line with COVID-19 Secure guidelines, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place as soon as possible.
    • All close contact services will resume, including any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application, working closely with the sector and public health experts to ensure this can be done as safely as possible and in line with COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
    • Pilots will be conducted in venues with a range of sizes of crowds, particularly where congregating from different places, including sports stadia and business events. The pilots, some of which will begin in late July, will be carefully monitored and evaluated to inform future decisions on any further relaxation of the rules. If plans progress in line with expectations, pilots will expand to build up to and prepare for a full, socially distanced return in the autumn.
    • Wedding receptions with sit-down meals for no more than 30 people will be allowed, subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Over time, we will assess whether gatherings of this type for other purposes can be made possible and when larger wedding receptions can take place.
    • Exhibition and conference centres will be allowed to show small groups (of up to 30 people with social distancing requirements) around to view the facilities and plan future events and to enable government backed pilots to take place. They should not be open fully to host events more widely.

    From 1st October:

    • All types of events (e.g. trade shows, consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences) will be allowed at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing of 2m, or 1m with mitigation). Where such events involve people speaking loudly for prolonged periods of time, any mitigation must include particular attention to the ventilation of the spaces. This will be subject to the latest public health advice.

    As part of this new phase, the Government will also be publishing new legislation next week which will enable Ministers to:

      • close businesses and venues in whole sectors (such as food production or non-essential retail), or within a defined geographical area (such as towns or counties)
      • impose general restrictions on movement of people (including requirements to ‘stay at home’ or to prevent people staying away from home overnight, or restrictions on entering or leaving a defined area)
      • impose restrictions on gatherings by limiting how many people can meet and whether they can travel in and out of an area to do so
      • restrict local or national transport systems by closing them entirely, or introducing capacity limits or geographical restrictions
      • mandate use of face coverings in a wider range of public place.


    From 4th July, many businesses and venues will be permitted to reopen and will be expected to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. These include:

    • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
    • places of worship
    • libraries
    • community centres
    • restaurants, cafes, workplace canteens, bars, pubs that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside
    • hair salons and barbers, including mobile businesses
    • cinemas
    • theatres and concert halls (not for live performances)
    • funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities
    • outdoor gyms and playgrounds
    • museums and galleries
    • bingo halls
    • outdoor skating rinks
    • amusement arcades and other entertainment centres
    • model villages
    • social clubs
    • indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction
    • indoor and outdoor areas of visitor attractions including, gardens, heritage sites, film studios and landmarks

    From 11th July the following will be allowed to reopen with reduced venue capacity and electronic ticketing:

    • Outdoor performances including:
      • Air Shows
      • Agricultural Shows (including town and country shows
      • Carnivals, Fun fairs, fetes, steam rallies and Community Fairs
      • Car boot sales
      • Circuses
      • Display and Performing Arts including Street Art Events
      • Firework Displays
      • Flower Shows and Gardening Events
      • Historical re-enactment events
      • Literature Fairs / festivals
      • Pet and Animal Shows
      • Some music concerts (see below)
      • Outdoor theatres and performing arts
    • Recreational sport
    • Outdoor swimming pools and water parks including outdoor hot tubs, hydrotherapy pools, whirlpools and jacuzzis

    From 13th July the following will be allowed to reopen:

    • Beauticians and tattooists with some restrictions on high-risk services

    From 25th July the following will be allowed to reopen with appropriate measures such as enhanced cleaning protocols and pre-booking systems in place:

    • indoor gyms
    • indoor swimming pools 
    • fitness and dance studios
    • indoor sports venues and facilities
    • indoor hot tubs, hydrotherapy pools, whirlpools and jacuzzis

    Read more here


  • What businesses are not allowed to reopen? Toggle accordion content

    The following businesses will need to remain closed:

    • bowling alleys
    • indoor skating rinks
    • casinos
    • nightclubs, dancehalls, discotheques
    • exhibition halls and conference centres
    • Sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars
    • Indoor play areas including soft-play
    • some close-contact services, paticulalrly services around the face should not be provided such as eyebrow threading or make-up application

    From 1st October, all types of events (e.g. trade shows, consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences) will be allowed at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing of 2m, or 1m with mitigation). 

    Read more here

  • Has their been new guidance published? Toggle accordion content

    There has been new guidance published for the visitor economy, restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaways as well as hotel and other guest accommodation services, which you can view here.

    More guidance is to follow for events and entertainment operators. 

  • How do I apply for the industry standard? Toggle accordion content

    “We’re Good To Go” is the official UK mark to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.


  • How do I gather customer data? Toggle accordion content

    The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.

    The requirement to collect this data applies to:

    • hospitality, including pubs, bars and restaurants (it does not apply to businesses operating a takeaway/delivery only basis)
    • tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks 
    • close contact services, including hairdressers, and others 
    • facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres
    • places of worship, including use for events and other community activities

    This guidance applies to any establishment that provides an on-site service and to any events that take place on its premises. It does not apply where services are taken off-site immediately, for example, a food or drink outlet which only provides takeaways. If a business offers a mixture of a sit-in and takeaway service, contact information only needs to be collected for customers who are dining in. It does not apply to drop-off deliveries made by suppliers.

    The data that needs to be collected is:


    • The names of staff who work at the premises.
    • A contact phone number for each member of staff.
    • The dates and times that staff are at work.

    Customers and visitors

    • The name of the customer or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group.
    • A contact phone number for each customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people.
    • Date of visit and arrival and, where possible, departure time.

    If a customer interacts with only one member of staff, the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer If you have a large booking, for example, at a restaurant, you only need to collect the name and contact phone number of the lead member of the party. This data needs to be kept for 21 days.


  • Who is responsible for businesses carrying out a Covid19 risk assessment and re-opening safely to be ‘Covid secure’? Toggle accordion content

    It is a business’s sole responsibility to complete a Covid19 risk assessment and put adequate measures in place to ensure they are safe to re-open and trade – in line with national government guidance.

    The KCC Trading Standards team are currently offering free business advice.

    Covid19 is a new risk that should be considered alongside existing risks. Your risk assessment should assess the risk of employees, volunteers, contractors, cleaners, drivers, members of the public or others contracting or spreading Covid-19 and conducting activities safely. Businesses with more than 5 employees must ensure it is written down. Risk assessments are vital to justify your decisions and actions as a business and should be communicated with your employees. Businesses with over 50 employees are expected to publish this on their website.

  • Do I need to display any signage/posters and seek approval or certification before re-opening? Toggle accordion content

    The guidance for businesses from the government does encourage you to display information to reassure and inform staff and customers of the measures taken to be COVID-secure. See the ‘Five steps to safer working’ poster here 

    There is no specific certification required to prove your business is COVID Secure and can, therefore, re-opening safely; various schemes and quality marks are currently being offered, including the We’re Good To Go industry standard and supporting mark for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors. The scheme is free to join 

  • Who can businesses contact if they have questions or need further guidance on re-opening safely? Toggle accordion content

    If you need further support on re-opening safely, risk assessments, social distancing, cleaning etc, then you can contact your Environmental Health team at their local council. Alternatively, trading standards are offering a free COVID business advisory service for Kent businesses. 

  • Can filming resume at my venue? Toggle accordion content

    The Business Visits & Events Partnership has sought guidance on filming and broadcasting at permitted visitor economy venues and can share that both can take place subject to those using the premises following the guidance issued for filming from the British Film Commission or in the case of TV production the BBC. The number of persons allowed on site will be in accordance with the filming or TV production guidance. However, arrangements for meetings, accommodation or food and refreshments will need to follow the relevant visitor economy guidance. Exhibition and conference centres are not permitted venues presently and therefore not able to use their facilities for these purposes.

  • Can guided tours resume? Toggle accordion content

    Guiding of up to 30 people can take place indoors or outdoors provided businesses undertake risk assessments in line with the guidance document and put any necessary mitigations in place.

  • What business events can restart and what is the timeline for a full return? Toggle accordion content

    We have collated the latest information and guidance for events venues and organisers here.

Frequently asked questions on travel restrictions 

  • Where does the 14 day quarantine rule apply? Toggle accordion content

    The government has eased travel restrictions by opening up travel corridor exemptions. From 10th July, people visiting England from countries on the exemption list will not need to self-isolate.

    You can find more information here

  • Is there any guidance on owners of boats and if they should be allowed to moor in marinas? Toggle accordion content
  • What travellers are exempt from quarantine border rules in the UK? Toggle accordion content

    The Government has updated the guidance for travellers who are exempt from Border rules related to quarantining so that transport workers who do not come into contact with passengers in the course of their journey to England will no longer be required to complete the passenger locator form. 

    There are also be additional exemptions for certain groups, including elite sportspersons and essential support staff returning to England or participating in certain elite sports events, and individuals coming to England to work on British film and television productions.



  • Should I cancel accommodation bookings for guests from a local lockdown area? Toggle accordion content

    Residents within the lockdown area will be responsible for abiding by the law, including restrictions on making overnight stays. There will be no legal obligation for accommodation providers outside the lockdown area to check whether guests are resident within the lockdown area, or to enforce the law by turning people from a local lockdown area away. However, we encourage all accommodation providers to consider their approach towards guests from a local lockdown area.

    • Accommodation providers may wish to communicate to all customers with existing bookings, reminding them of the law and giving them a chance to cancel their bookings.
    • Accommodation providers should follow all government guidelines on working as safely as possible and protecting their staff and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Accommodation providers may decide to cancel bookings from guests from a local lockdown area whilst the local lockdown is in place. The decision to refuse service is at the discretion of the business owner, and the terms of the booking contract may allow for discretionary cancellations. If you are cancelling a booking, this should be done with sufficient notice to the guest, and we would expect any funds already paid by the consumer to be repaid.
    • If a booking is cancelled, either by the guest or the provider, we encourage you to offer alternative dates if this can be agreed with the customer. If this cannot be arranged, we would encourage you to provide a refund as you have for customers during the broader lockdown period, which may depend on the terms of the booking contract.
    • If a guest whose reservation you have cancelled - or a holiday caravan owner whom you have advised not to visit the park - arrives at your property wishing to stay overnight in contravention of the law, you may ask the person to leave. You may wish to contact your local police force for support if a guest refuses to leave your property. Local police forces will support Local Authorities in enforcing the Coronavirus Regulations where necessary.

Frequently asked questions on outdoor spaces

Frequently asked questions on accommodation 

Frequently asked questions on hygiene, safety and facilities

  • Where do I need wear a face covering? Toggle accordion content

    In England, face coverings are currently required by law to be worn in the following settings: shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport.

    From 8 August, face coverings will be required by law to be worn in a greater number of public indoor settings including: museums, galleries, cinemas, places of worship, and public libraries. Please be mindful that there are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups to not wear a face covering in these settings.

    People are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in any other enclosed public space where there are people they do not normally meet.

    Read the Government guidance on when to wear a face covering here. 

  • Can you provide more guidance on managing public toilet facilities? Toggle accordion content

    The government has provided guidelines for managing public toilets. These guidelines include: 

    • Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into your arm. Consider how to ensure safety messages reach those with hearing or vision impairments

    • Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards

    • Providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms

    • Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved

    • Enhancing cleaning for busy areas

    • Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection

    • Using disposable paper towels in handwashing facilities where possible

    • Minimising use of portable toilets

    • Provision of automated hand sanitising dispensers in public places

    • Ensuring that takeaway catering facilities can be used in a safe way that maintains social distancing and hygiene

    You can find more information on the guidelines here

  • Can I expand my outside seating area? Toggle accordion content

    Associated with the business planning bill is draft guidance on the proposed new temporary Pavement Licences. This is a streamlined process to allow businesses likes pubs, restaurants and cafes to place removable furniture on footpaths outside their premises. The main attributes of the licenses are:

      • The fee is capped at £100
      • The consultation period is only 5 working days
      • Applications not decided in 5 working days will be deemed to have been granted
      • The licence is for a year but not beyond 30 September 2021
      • Any business which uses (or proposes to use) premises for the sale of food or drink for consumption (on or off the premises) can apply for a licence
      • If a business does not already have an alcohol license or is not registered to sell food and drink, it will still need to apply for these.
      • The licence is deem to be planning permission so this is not required when a licence is granted

    The furniture that can be used is:

      • counters or stalls for selling or serving food or drink
      • tables, counters or shelves on which food or drink can be placed
      • chairs, benches or other forms of seating
      • umbrellas, barriers, heaters and other articles used in connection with the outdoor consumption of food or drink.

    The Government have also tabled an amendment to the Business and Planning Bill to ensure that pubs, restaurants and cafes are to offer outdoor seating choices for smokers and non-smokers. 


  • Are masks compulsory on Heritage Railways? Toggle accordion content

    • The current legislation on the wearing of face coverings on public transport states that a face masks should be worn on any service for the carriage of passengers from place to place which is available to the general public (whether or not payment is required for this service). These regulations include heritage rail, as these trains transport people from place to place and are available to the general public on purchase of a ticket; and the exemptions in the legislation do not apply in this context. The reason for this measure is that trains are enclosed spaces where the risk of transmission is high, and therefore wearing masks could improve the protections for passengers and employees.
    • There are, however, several caveats to the regulations. For example, if there are separate berths for individuals/families/bubbles, it may be acceptable to remove masks while passengers are in that accommodation alone or with members of their household/a linked household, provided safety of passengers can be assured. A heritage train with “corridor coaches” (where a corridor leads to several compartments) may be able to take advantage of this exemption provided that a compartment is occupied only with persons from the same or linked households.
    • Additionally, the legislation states that masks may be removed "if it is reasonably necessary to eat or drink". Organisations will need to fully consider if the nature of the train journeys they are providing would fall within the spirit of this caveat. Any measures put in place to ensure the safety of passengers should be taken following a risk assessment

Frequently asked questions on government support

  • Am I eligible for the hospitality, tourism and leisure VAT reduction? Toggle accordion content

    VAT registered businesses may apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admission to certain attractions. The temporary reduced rate may be applied between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

    Eligible attractions for the temporary reduced rate of VAT include shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas, exhibitions and other cultural events and facilities, but do not include admission to sporting events. Live performances that charge a fee to view online may be eligible, depending on circumstances and assuming they are not already covered by a Cultural VAT exemption

    Read more

    HMRC support

    If you have any detailed questions about the reduced rate of VAT you can contact:

    - Telephone: 0300 200 3700. Outside the UK: +44 2920 501 261


  • Are packaged products that include food and drink eligible for the Eat Out to Toggle accordion content

    Packaged products that include food and drink are not eligible for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme – this includes B&Bs, package offers at hotels and dinner cruises.

    However, these products can be eligible if they are unbundled. So a Bed and Breakfast that charges £80/night could charge £60 for the accommodation and £20 for the breakfast and claim back £10

  • Frequently Asked Questions on Face Coverings Toggle accordion content

    On Friday 31st July, the Government issued the following new guidance on wearing face marks. This guidance will become mandatory on Saturday 8th August. The inclusion of the public areas of hotels (expect this will apply to all holiday accommodation) as well as indoor attractions, entertainment and cultural venues.


    Where will people need to wear face coverings?

    We are now recommending that face coverings are worn in additional indoor settings and this will be enforceable in law.

    Currently you are required to wear face coverings in shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, indoor transport hubs and public transport.

    For members of the public, from 8 August this will be expanded to include:

    • funeral directors
    • premises providing professional, legal or financial services
    • cinemas
    • theatres
    • bingo halls
    • concert halls
    • museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites
    • nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers - other than where necessary to remove for treatments
    • massage parlours.
    • public areas in hotels and hostels
    • places of worship
    • libraries and public reading rooms
    • community centres
    • social clubs
    • tattoo and piercing parlours
    • indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities such as laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites)
    • storage and distribution facilities
    • veterinary services
    • auction houses

    We recommend face coverings are worn in these settings now, but this will not be mandatory until 8 August.