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COVID-19 updates for businesses w/c 3 January

Further funding available for arts, culture and heritage

On December 23, the Government and Arts Council England announced that emergency funding from the Culture Recovery Fund is being increased by £30 million to help more organisations through the winter.

Organisations will also be given more time to get applications in to benefit as many of those affected as possible, and additional immediate support will also be provided for creative freelancers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak over the Christmas period.

The application window has also been extended until January 18, to give more organisations a chance to apply to the fund.

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Working safely during COVID-19

On December 23, Government updated the guidance on working safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The guidance for events and attractions, as well as construction and other outdoor work; offices, factories and labs; restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services; and shops, branches, and close contact services, has been updated with new information on self-isolation. Workers who have tested positive or have symptoms, can stop self-isolating after seven days instead of ten days if they get two negative LFD test results on day six and seven.

The guidance for hotels and guest accommodation has been updated to reflect England’s move to ‘Plan B’ of the COVID-19 Autumn/Winter Plan, in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. This includes changes to the guidance on face coverings, working from home, testing and self-isolation. Information has also been added on COVID status checks, which are now legally required in some venues and events.

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COVID-19: guidance for grassroots sport participants, providers and facility operators

On December 23, Government updated the guidance on COVID-19 measures for grassroots sport participants, providers and facility operators.

The guidance sets out information for the public and sport providers on how to organise and participate in grassroots sport and physical activity as safely as possible. This includes advice on steps people can take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission within the sport environment.

The update includes new information on face coverings, who should work from home, and the types of venues and events that are required by law to check visitors’ COVID status as a condition of entry.

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Care workers and assistants will become eligible for the Health and Care Visa

On December 24, Government announced that care workers, care assistants and home care workers will become eligible for the Health and Care Visa for a 12-month period.

Temporary changes will be made to the Health and Care Visa to make social care workers, care assistants and home care workers eligible for a 12-month period. This will make it quicker, cheaper and easier for social care employers to recruit eligible workers to fill vital gaps.

This follows the recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee to make care workers and home carers eligible and add the occupation to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

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