Restrictions
With the second lockdown ended, the entirety of East Sussex is being placed in Tier 2 restrictions. This means that, despite Hastings itself having relatively low rates of infection, it is still being treated as a “High Alert” area. This means that more severe restrictions that will affect some businesses will still be in place. 

Pubs and bars are only allowed to open if they are serving food using table service. They will only be able to serve alcohol if it is accompanied by a “substantial meal”. Whilst this has not been defined in the guidance, previous legal cases using the term have referred to it as akin to a “main lunchtime or evening meal”. This clearly excludes bar snacks, such as peanuts and crisps, but pubs offering a full menu should be fine. If food is shared, such as a sliced pizza, it would be prudent to ensure that there is enough to constitute a meal for each person sharing. Diners are expected to vacate the premises once they have finished eating, though there is no set time for how long a meal can last. Venues must stop taking orders at 10pm and close by 11pm. Delivery or click-and-collect services for food and drink, where the patrons do not enter the premises, are unaffected.

Public events (including shows, sports and business events) can operate indoors or outdoors, but with restricted audience numbers. Numbers are restricted to a maximum of 50% capacity or 2,000 people outdoors (1,000 people indoors) whichever is lower. Numbers may be further restricted if social distancing is not possible even with those reduced numbers. 

Other sporting and physical activity, such as exercise classes, can continue if taking place outdoors and socially distanced. Similar activities indoors can only take place if it is possible to avoid people from different support bubbles mixing. 

Support

Businesses in rateable premises should be entitled to a new Local Restrictions Support Grant. Those not eligible for this can apply to the new discretionary fund offered by the council. Links for both of these schemes appear elsewhere on this page. 

Where a business either has no work for employees, or is only able to offer reduced hours, two Job Support Schemes are in place. Both of these provide some government funding for employees’ lost wages, with the amount claimable dependent on how much they work. These schemes have been covered in detail in a previous issue. This article can be found here. (tinyurl.com/HIPJobSupport

The self-employed will also be able to make a claim for lost income. This would be the third round of support for the self-employed, with the scheme having similar criteria to the previous two rounds. There has been one significant change however. Previously reduced profits from either loss of income or increased costs to be Covid-safe made a business eligible. For this third round only those with reduced business income will qualify. 


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