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UK Government COVID-19 update, 17 July 2020

17 July 2020
Issue 16, 17 July 2020: All of the key coronavirus news and guidance in one weekly legal update.

Government confirms allocations of £500 million additional funding for councils: Allocations confirmed for individual councils in England to help deliver essential services for residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

England to make masks mandatory in shops: Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July. Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the government has announced.

Affordable Homes Programme extended until March 2023: A scheme to help get more families across England into affordable homes has been extended by a year, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced on 6 July 2020.

Work in Progress: Government procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic: This report will set out the scale of COVID-19-related procurement, how procurement rules have changed and how the government is managing the risks associated with these changes. For a sample of contracts, it will consider who has bought what, from whom, and at what cost, during the pandemic.

Councils issue warning over £730m of unspent EU funding: Nearly a quarter of the European Social Fund is at risk of being sent back to Brussels, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.

Council launches UK’s first local government green bond: The UK’s first local government green bond has been launched by West Berkshire Council.

Mapping recovery through environmental sustainability: Statement by Lord Goldsmith at WWF Side Event at the 2020 High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Updated guidance on working safely during COVID-19: Updated to include guidance on mass gatherings in the workplace.

Updated guidance on providing free school meals during COVID-19 outbreak: Updated guidance and application form for the temporary extension of free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups.This includes the increase in the income threshold from £16,190 per annum to £31,500 per annum for London and £28,200 for areas outside of London.

Updated guidance relating to cleaning of non-healthcare settings outside the home: Updated with advice on cleaning and waste management that does not relate to a suspected or confirmed case, taking into account current levels of community transmission.


Coronavirus restrictions relaxed further to support tourism and leisure sectors in Wales: Hairdressers, barbers and most indoor tourist attractions will reopen on Monday, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on 10 July as he set out further measures to lift Wales’ coronavirus restrictions.

New guidance to support September schools return: On 13 July, the Welsh Government published updated guidance to support schools prior to the return of all pupils in September.

New Covid-19 testing strategy for Wales published: Wales’ new coronavirus testing strategy has been published on 15 July by Health Minister Vaughan Gething.


Moving to Phase 3 of lockdown route map: Opening dates confirmed for places of worship,hairdressers, museums and galleries.

Safe re-opening of small businesses: The safe re-opening of small and micro businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic is being supported by new guidance.

COVID-19: Phase 3: business and physical distancing guidance: Guidance for businesses in Scotland on keeping safe during the COVID-19 outbreak

Construction guidance: Guidance on construction sites and associated works that can continue under specific conditions

Monitoring and responding to COVID-19: Updated guidance on managing the pandemic has published.

Waste Sector Guidance: Support and information available for those working in the waste sector.

Northern Ireland

Further relaxations to the Coronavirus Regulations and amendments to the International Travel Regulations: The Executive agreed there will be no self-isolation requirement for those travelling to Northern Ireland from low to medium risk countries and announced re-opening of a range of facilities.

Economy Minister stresses the importance of investing in skills: The Minister said: “It is important that we grasp this opportunity and invest this money in the right areas to aid our economic recovery."

View the government's latest guidance for local councils >

View more insights on our COVID-19 Hub >

View our Public Sector insights >

To view previous editions of the Public Sector COVID-19 Bulletin, please choose a date below:

Further Reading