In this week's bulletin, we analyse the UK Government's easing of lockdown, the track and trace policy, and the easing of lockdown in Germany.


4 July - What next?

Pubs, Bars & Restaurants

Outiside

  • Necessary/consequential changes to planning & licensing conditions as outside will be easier than inside where it is available?
  • No national announcement on relaxation on off sales/use of outside areas on land not owned by the operator

Inside

  • What will "1 metre plus" look like? Additional mitigating measures for staff or guests too?
  •  Generally
    • Local authority and Police co-operation/collaboration rather than restriction/enforcement and how to strike the balance according to the generality of locations?
    • Privacy and technology solutions (cashless, remote ordering, registration/provision of personal information) as a support tool but safeguarding privacy/track & tracing balance for everyone's benefit, not simply shifting burden of track and trace to hospitality operators?
    • High Street currently has no bars and restaurants; implications for urban management after July 4 when these will re-open?

Other Hospitality & Leisure

  • "Close proximity" venues to remain closed
    • Getting the rest of the sector i.e. theatres and live venues, indoor sporting facilities etc., open very soon (need more than 'working groups')?
      • Theatres and similar venues – live performances
      • Nightclubs
      • “Nightclubs” what is their definition?
      • Indoor gyms and swimming pools
      • Bowling alleys
      • Soft play areas
  • Need clarity on gambling premises
  • Other services
    • Hairdressers
    • Places of worship: OK to open but limited to 30 present for weddings for example
  • Hotels
    • Can re-open but curtailed operating protocols
    • Lack of foreign visitors in short-term, business or leisure
    • Holidays in UK – guest houses, holiday rentals, smaller hotels – the challenges of needing visitor revenue v maintaining local public health. Will there be any help in the Guidance?

Education

  • All children back in school by September 1
    • Parent/carer barriers to working until then; impact on the sector if significant numbers of employees cannot return to work.

Wales & Scotland approach

  • Unless similar easing of restrictions (and modification to current legislation which makes 2 metres the law) in Wales & Scotland, after July 4 there will be big differences

Drafted in collaboration with Paddy Whur, Licensing specialist.


Track and Trace

Background to the UK Situation

  • The development and launch of the NHS Contact Tracing app was well-intended, hoping to achieve a level of data that would enable a strong proactive ability to identify, connect and track with people who had had contact with anyone testing positive (the intention was to make the data stored on NHS servers more useful from a research perspective - both during and after the pandemic than in other countries which had chosen a decentralised model – see below)
  • However it has been fraught with lack of communication and transparency between relevant authorities, eg the app was trialled in the Isle of Wight while the mandatory Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) had not been submitted yet to the ICO
  • The App being a significant component of England's test and trace scheme launched earlier this month, the privacy notice pointed to a 20 years data retention period for the Covid-19 data collected on NHS servers through the app or through the scheme, which raised significant concerns on proportionality and security.
  • It also encountered technical difficulties and resistance from the key tech providers to make the necessary technical adjustments to smartphone operating systems to enable the app to work.

Change of strategy

  • On 18 June the UK government switched from a centralised app model to a decentralised model based on the Google-Apple platform where the data resides on the mobile device
  • This decentralised model had been required by Google and Apple and favoured by all EU countries using an app (save France), the ICO and the EU EDBP: it is more privacy protective and in line with the principle of data minimisation under the GDPR

Will it work?

  • As an example in Germany 7million people have so far downloaded their app (of a population of 83m); contacts are notified of their recent proximity to a person with a positive test, but they will not know who that person is and the health authorities will not know who has received the alert (or where they are) unless the affected person notifies them
  • So, broadly, in Europe concerns about data and privacy (of the general public, data regulators and the tech giants) have constrained the potential health strategy benefits
  • As a result, the new app may in the end be used less for contact tracing purposes and more as an interface between users and health authorities

A VIEW FROM GERMANY (SINCE LIFTING SOME RESTRICTIONS ON 17 JUNE)

Germany-wide

  • Physical distance (1.5 meters) and hygiene rules still apply
  • Recommendation to restrict contacts both in terms of numbers and in terms of consistent circle, but no general social distancing restriction applying anymore (save for events, see below)
  • Larger events (without being defined) remain prohibited at least until end of October
  • Compulsory masks in certain public places (in buildings and in urban transport)
  • Track and Trace strategy – see above

Retail – extent and details depending on individual state

  • Restaurants and shops of all kind inside and outside opened
  • Hotels, holiday homes, fitness studios, amusement parks are opened
  • Pubs are opened in most states or opening is soon to come
    • (Exemplary) hygiene/security measures:
      • compulsory masks (in shops, in restaurants only for employees), physical distancing
      • compulsory seat assignment/reservation
      • no self service
      • restrictions on shop opening hours lifted
      • regular cleaning/disinfecting heavily touched surfaces

Impact on consumer behaviour - turnover in retail trade:

  • April 2020: 6.5 % year on year decline 
  • Necessities (food, beverages, tobacco goods): +6.2 % year to year increase
  • Non-food retail: -14.5 % year to year decrease 
  • Textiles, clothing, footwear: -70 % year to year decrease
  • Online retail: +24.2 % year to year increase

Measures aiming at revitalising the German economy - far-reaching stimulus package by federal government (starting July)

  • Cut in statutory value-added tax (general rate decreasing from 19 to 16%) until 31 December 2020
  • One-off payment to parents of EUR 300 per child
  • Emergency aid for companies
  • Tax deferrals/relief for companies
  • Ecological buyer's premium
  • Obligation to file for insolvency (for companies with limited liability) is being suspended until (at least) 30 September 2020

Key Contacts

Hubertus Schröder

Dr. Hubertus Schröder

Partner, Corporate
Germany

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Dr. Nathalie Moreno

Dr. Nathalie Moreno

Partner, Commercial Services
London

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David Young

David Young

Partner, Health & Safety
London

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