The latest on Coronavirus COVID-19: New 3-Tier Alert System & Extension to Job Support Scheme


Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced the introduction of a 3-tier alert system in England for local restrictions, in a bid to avoid another national lockdown.

The 3 tiers are as follows:

MEDIUM Rule of 6 indoors & outdoors. Pubs & restaurants to close at 10pm.
HIGH No household mixing indoors. Rule of 6 outdoors – including private gardens.
VERY HIGH No household mixing indoors or outdoors. Pubs/bars not able to operate as a restaurant will be forced to close. Avoid travelling in and out of the area – including overnight stays elsewhere. Each local authority will decide whether to close other businesses like gyms; casinos; leisure centres and other businesses.

The majority of England is at the ‘medium’ alert level at the moment.  Those districts that were already operating under local restrictions, were automatically placed into the ‘high’ alert category (plus a couple of others identified as a high risk during the process).  The only borough to be considered ‘very high’ at the moment is Liverpool.  However, it is likely that if the numbers don’t improve that others will follow suit.

Boris Johnson stressed that there was a commitment to keep all retail outlets, schools and universities open.

For those businesses forced to close as a result of being in the ‘very high’ alert category, the government has made the following financial support available:

·         Coronavirus Job Support Scheme (until 31st October)

·         Job Support Scheme (after 1st November), offering 67% of wages to those unable to work.

·         Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme increased to up to £3,000 per month and can claim after 2 weeks rather than 3.

·         £1 billion investment in local track and trace and enforcement.


On Friday 9th October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an extension to the Job Support Scheme which would support businesses that were forced to close by law as a result of further local restrictions.

The scheme has been extended to cover 67% of wage costs up to a maximum of £2,100 (gross) per month for each employee that is unable to work as a result of local restrictions.  There is no requirement for the employer to contribute to wages, but they will be responsible for paying the NI and pension contributions.  Each employee must be unable to work for a minimum of 7 days.   

As soon as the area is released from local ‘high alert’ restrictions and can technically open again, then this additional support will be withdrawn.  Businesses will then be able to use the original Job Support Scheme for help.

As per the Job Support Scheme, this additional support will be available from 1st November for a period of 6 months.

If you need any assistance with the JSS, please contact Lissa.