Updates to Covid-19 guidance

New measures against Omicron variant

Following the emergence of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, new guidance and recommendations have been released by government and local authorities to help to reduce the spread of the virus. New precautionary measures came into place on Tuesday 30 November, including the mandatory wearing of face coverings whilst in shops and on public transport and day 2 PCR tests for all international arrivals. For full details check this government page


The visitor economy and the workplace

Customers and staff are now legally required to wear face coverings indoors in shops and on public transport services.

  • Shops and close contact services (such as hairdressers and beauty therapists), including those within another type of business or facility
  • Shops and communal areas in shopping centres
  • Public transport services (such as buses, trains and trams) and transport services open to the public (such as indoor areas of private hire coaches, open-top bus tours and leisure boats)
  • Transport hubs (such as airports; maritime ports; rail, bus and coach stations), including any businesses located within a transport hub (except hospitality venues like cafes and bars)

For more information on when you should wear a face covering, exemptions and rules in the workplace please see new face covering guidance.

The guidance on how to quarantine at home or the place you’re staying when you arrive in England from abroad has also been updated.

Find guidance on how you now need to use your NHS Covid Pass for travel abroad and at venues and settings in England.

Details of guidance for specific sectors have also been updated with a summary of where face coverings will be mandatory within these settings and other settings within the visitor economy. Find the full list of guidance on working safely during coronavirus.


A joint regional response

Directors of Public Health from Northumberland, Tyneside, Wearside, and County Durham have issued a statement following the emergence of the Omicron variant of concern. They have urged the public to take extra care to protect yourself and others – keeping a safe distance from others, washing hands regularly, keeping indoor spaces ventilated, getting tested and self-isolating where required. They are also urging everybody to ensure they have their first, second, and booster dose of the vaccine when eligible – they give you the best protection against COVID-19. You can read the full response here

Click here for details of where you can get vaccinations in Newcastle.

Click here for details of where you can get vaccinations in Gateshead.


Business support

Businesses in Newcastle forced to close due to staff self-isolation are able to apply for the Outbreak Support Grant of £1,000 – £3,000 to help offset the costs of having to close.

Government announced £1bn of support for businesses most impacted by the Omicron variant, including one-off grants of up to £6,000, the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for covid-related absences for SMEs and £30m further funding made available through the Culture Recovery Fund.


Have your say – Consumer confidence and cancellations

NGI has had anecdotal evidence from our tourism partners and venues in relation to customer confidence levels due to the new variant, with many experiencing cancellations ahead of the Christmas period.

We invite businesses who are feeling the impact of the Omicron variant to tell us how it is affecting them in our short survey. All responses are confidential and will be used to inform our continued efforts to support our innovative and resilient sector to bounce back.