The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the hotel sector is unparalleled, with the industry being one of those hit hardest by the pandemic. 

Our international Hotels & Leisure team is supporting a number of hotel businesses during this challenging time, helping them navigate their way out of the crisis. The team has worked together to provide an overview of the current requirements hotels must be aware of and government support available to the sector in each of our office locations.

 

Australia

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

Australia's States and Territories each have their own regulations and orders in place to effect a lock down. The Federal Government has made recommendations for the easing of restrictions, and each State and Territory will implement an easing of restrictions as they see appropriate.

Each State and Territory is implementing a relaxation of the lock down orders on its own timetable and with its own specific requirements, including in relation to venue capacity, social distancing, and requirements for COVID-19 safety plans. At a State and Territory level some restrictions are being lifted. While the Federal Government has released a three step plan to move out of lockdown, each State and Territory has implemented its own regulations in line with their local conditions. 

Currently, the only State subject to lockdown is Victoria in response to a second wave of infections. Other States like Queensland and Western Australia have closed their internal borders but have not gone into a lock down.

From 6pm on Sunday 2 August (for a period of 6 weeks), in metropolitan Melbourne, Stage 4 restrictions apply. Other restrictions apply to regional Victoria. 

Stage 4 restrictions mean a curfew is in place between the hours of 8pm until 5am. This means people must be at their home during these hours. The only reasons to leave home between 8pm and 5am will be work, medical care and caregiving.

Further, many States are requiring returning travellers to be subject to a mandatory 14 day hotel quarantine period. This applies in all States and Territories for returning international travellers. 

In NSW, the Government is charging NSW and non-NSW residents returning from Victoria and all international travellers for their quarantine accommodation. These costs in NSW are $3,000 for one adult and additional occupants will be added as follows:

  • additional adults: $1,000 each
  • additional children: $500 each
  • child under 3: no additional cost

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

At this stage, there is no indication as to when the lock downs will ease. 


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Hotels are permitted to open and were permitted to do so even during the initial lockdowns.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Hotels are required to enforce social distancing measures and observe the rule requiring 4 square metres of space per person. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

See above as the same rules apply to staff. 

Latest government advice


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Dining areas/bars are permitted to open provided they enforce social distancing measures and observe the rule requiring 4 square metres of space per person. However there is also a maximum cap of 300 people at any one time in a hospitality venue (in NSW). Further these venues are required to take down and record the details of their patrons in order to track future cases. 

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Leisure facilities are permitted to open provided they enforce social distancing measures and observe the rule requiring 4 square metres of space per person.

Further in NSW:

  • The maximum number of people who may attend a wedding or a gathering following a wedding service cannot be greater than 150 people and is subject to the 4 square metre rule. This applies to weddings generally, and therefore wedding receptions held in hotels. 
  • The maximum number of people who can attend a corporate event cannot exceed 150 people or one customer per 4 square metres, whichever is the lesser.  This applies to conferences or other internal group gatherings including those in hotels. 
  • A maximum of 20 people per class applies to gym and recreation classes such as yoga, tai chi and pilates.
  • The maximum number of participants at a community sporting activity must not exceed 500.
    Please note that those maximum numbers are regularly being assessed and may change at any time.

Latest government advice

See previous section above. 


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

The focal point of the Federal Government support is the JobKeeper Payment scheme which is a temporary subsidy for businesses significantly affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). Eligible employers, sole traders and other entities can apply to receive $1,500 per eligible employee per fortnight.

Recently the Federal Government has announced an extension of this scheme from 27 September 2020 to 28 March 2021 subject to revised rules and amounts. 

The Federal Government introduced the Coronavirus Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Guarantee Scheme to support up to $40 billion of lending to SMEs (including sole traders and not-for-profits). Under the Scheme, the Government is guaranteeing 50 per cent of new loans issued by eligible lenders to SMEs. The ideas is that the Scheme will enhance lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit, supporting many otherwise viable SMEs to access vital additional funding to get through the impact of Coronavirus. The requirements and eligibility requirements for this Scheme are however narrow. 

The Government has also developed a COVID Safe app that helps State and Territory health officials to quickly identify and contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 (called ‘close contacts’). Without the help of technology, finding close contacts relies on people and their recollection of close contacts. This app supplements the manual recording of patrons attending sites.  
 
State and Territory health officials can only access app information if someone tests positive and agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded. The health officials can only use the app information to help alert those who may need to quarantine or get tested. COVIDSafe uses Bluetooth to look for other devices that have the app installed. It takes a note of a contact when it occurs, through a digital handshake. It securely logs the other user’s encrypted reference code and the date, time, Bluetooth® signal strength and proximity of the contact on the user’s phone, and notes the phone model. This information is then securely encrypted and stored on the phone.

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

See link here for our article on this topic. 

 

Local Contacts:

Adrian Rodrigues and Vince Baudille


Czech Republic

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

The Czech Republic is currently not in lockdown, although a number of protective measures and restrictions still apply.  

As of 3 December 2020, an updated "traffic lights" system was introduced.  The system divides Schengen countries into three categories (zones) depending on their epidemiological situation and laying down specific conditions for crossing the Czech borders (e.g. a COVID-19 test may be required for individuals traveling from certain countries).

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it? 

New measures are considered on the basis of the current epidemiological situation.

On 13 November 2020, the Government introduced a 5-colour stage PES nation-wide system based on the index of risk (scale 0-100) as an improved tool to indicate the level of COVID-19 emergency in the Czech Republic. Based on the index value, shifts between stages will be possible. The assessment will be published regularly and the shift to a different colour stage will take place if recommended by the Ministry of Health and approved by the Government. Currently, the stage 3 applies (mostly regime and organizational measures).


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes .

Hotels must ensure that customers keep a distance of 2 meters. Customers shall be advised to pay by card.

Hand sanitizers must be provided at the entrance to accommodation facilities and at the toilets. Areas/items that are often touched must be sanitised on a regular basis (bathrooms, toilets, furniture including tables or phones).  

Many hotels are also implementing additional safety measures including, for example, no buffet breakfast. 

As of 3 December, the maximum amount of people who may attend an indoor event is 10. Wearing facemasks is compulsory indoors (except hotel rooms) and outdoors if the social distance is less than 2 meters.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Employers are recommended to ensure regular testing of employees for COVID-19 and introduce remote working where possible.

Latest government advice


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes, but hotel restaurants/bars must be closed between 8 PM and 6 AM including take-away windows.

Services may be provided only to seated guests, with max. 4 persons per table and max. 50% of the restaurant's seat capacity used. Customers must be seated so that there is a distance of at least 1.5 meters between them, except customers sitting at the same table. The hotel restaurant/bar must register in writing the current number of seats for costumers. 

Hotels must ensure that customers keep a distance of 2 meters. Customers shall be advised to pay by card.

Hand sanitizers must be provided at the entrance to both the indoor and outdoor areas of a catering service facility. Areas/items that are often touched must be sanitised on a regular basis.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes, but limited to 1 person per 15 metres square of indoor area, max. 10 persons.

Sauna rituals and the operation of the steam room are prohibited.

Hotels must ensure that customers keep a distance of 2 meters and introduce regime measures for changing rooms, showers and toilets.

Wearing facemasks is compulsory indoors, including gyms.  

Latest government advice


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

The Government has launched a comprehensive set of measures to support businesses. It includes tax reliefs, grants, governmental loans, and an antivirus programme aimed at employment promotion etc.  

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes.

New call was announced by the Ministry of Industry and Trade within the COVID-Rent program compensating commercial rents in the period from July to September. 50% of the costs will be covered and paid out directly to entrepreneurs, this time without a need to ask landlords for cooperation. The call was launched on 21 October and will continue until midnight 21 January 2021.

Local Contacts:

Vojtěch Chloupek

Denmark

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No.

The country is not currently in nationwide lockdown. The only current restrictions apply to nightclubs and large events such as concerts.

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

It is currently undecided exactly when nightclubs and concert venues will be allowed to open again.


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes.

In areas with public access, hotels must allow for 4m2 per person. However, the requirement is lowered to 2 m2 per person in restaurants and cafés where guests are mainly sitting down.

For conference and meeting activities, the hotel must ensure at least a 1-meter distance between guests for activities of more than 15 minutes duration.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes.

Hotels must establish processes ensuring inter alia that interaction time between guest and staff is minimised and that the guidelines pertaining to hygiene are respected, e.g. cleaning of staff working stations at the end of their shift and increasing availability of hand washing stations.

Latest government advice


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

Restaurants have been permitted to open since 18 May.

2 m2 per guest is required and there must be at least 1 meter between groups of guests.

All restaurants and bars must close at 10 pm. (this restriction is for the time being only in effect for 14 days from 17 September 2020).

All restaurants must respect a 50-person maximum capacity rule (this restriction is for the time being only in effect for 14 days from 17 September 2020).

Where relevant, a sign by the entrance stating maximum number of guests allowed is recommended.

Easy access to disinfectants is required for guests and employees.

Each company must create their own individual plan for proper cleaning and disinfection.

Textiles such as towels must be washed at 60 degrees.

Masks are required by staff and by guests when not eating.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Sports facilities like gyms and spas have been permitted to open since 8 June.

A minimum of 4 m2 space for each user is required and floor markings regulating this must be visible. Sweat absorbing equipment must not be present (e.g. yoga mats) and users must disinfect equipment after use.

Latest government advice


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

The Danish government has launched a comprehensive set of measures to support businesses. This includes tax postponements, loans and a furlough scheme (which runs until 29 August).

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

No.

 

Local Contacts:

Claudia Vindbjærg Mortensen and Casper Moltke-Leth

Finland

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No.

The government recommendation for remote working will remain in force throughout the country until further notice and will be reviewed by 31 December 2020. Businesses are allowed to be open, some general and sector-specific restrictions are applied regionally.

The restrictions and recommendations concerning public events differ from one region to another depending on the phase of the epidemic. The guidelines on good hygiene and safe distances issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Ministry of Education and Culture are in force at all phases.

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

Yes.

Since the easing of national restrictions, the government has shifted towards regional and a more responsive strategy.


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes.

Physical distances of 1-2 metres between customers must be ensured. It is recommended to install protective screens to the reception desk to protect both customers and staff.  

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes.

The staff must be advised to stay at home if they experience even the slightest symptoms of flu. The staff also need to be trained to carry out enhanced hand hygiene and on how to act in a state of emergency (e.g. if there is a suspicion of a possible COVID-19 infection). The government recommendation for remote working (for those who could work at home) ended 1 August.

Latest government advice


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.
 
All customers are required to have their own seats, and the instructions on how to prevent a communicable disease from spreading must be provided. Customers need to be able to wash their hands, and the premises and surfaces of the restaurants/bars must be kept clean.

Restaurants/bars are also responsible for ensuring adequate physical distances between customers.

Regional restrictions are applied on the opening hours of food and beverage service businesses and the hours when alcohol may be served. The restrictions will remain in force until 15 December.

In the regions of Uusimaa (Helsinki, Southwest Finland, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa and Ostrobothnia businesses must stop serving alcohol by 22.00 and businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages must close by 23.00, while other food and beverage service businesses may be open until 24.00 at the latest. Also, pubs, bars and nightclubs may allow half the normal number of customers in the premises at a time and restaurants and cafes may allow three quarters of the normal number of customers in the premises at a time.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

Regarding spas, cleaning and disinfection of the premises must be enhanced, especially on contact surfaces. It is recommended to limit the number of customers so that the physical distances between customers can be ensured. Customers and staff must be instructed on proper social distancing and hygiene measures. If a staff member or a customer has symptoms, they should stay at home. 

The operation of gyms is not restricted, but the social distancing guidelines and safety of the customers must be taken into account.


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

There are multiple aid systems available for businesses suffering losses due to the coronavirus. These include e.g. business cost support, loan arrangements, guarantees for loans, and research, development and innovation loan (RDI loan).

Read more >

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes.

The business cost support is designed to help businesses cover their fixed costs, including rent payments, in a situation where their financial standing has suffered due to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Local Contacts:

Maria Carlsson and Johanna Rein

France

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No.

The national lockdown ended on May 11th. 

However, some restrictions remain applicable within public areas (e.g. public transport, bars, restaurants and hotels) mostly to enforce social distancing measures and the wearing of masks.

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

N/A


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes. 

Pursuant to decree No 2020-293 of 23 March 2020, hotels were not included in the list of categories of places that banned from opening to the public. Room service was excluded and so remains prohibited.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes. 

1 meter social distancing is required. Hotels must comply with social distancing guidance and should ensure customers are informed through proper signage. Hotels should also consider rearranging common areas to accommodate social distancing.

The government also suggests that hotels display a label advertising that they are respecting social distancing: link to obtain the label.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes. 

Generally speaking, employees are expected to respect social distancing and should also wear masks if they are in contact with customers. They should also wash their hands every 30 minutes.

Latest government advice

Guide on good practices (doc in French) published by the French Labour Ministry: https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr 

 

Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Since June 15th, cafes, bars and restaurants can open for dining in, both inside and on their terraces, provided that social distancing measures are implemented inside the restaurant :

  • Customers must all be seated. There can be up to 10 people at a table if they came together or made a common reservation.
  • A minimum distance of 1 meter must be respected between each person or group of persons, except if a physical separation can be put in place (with a glass window for example).
  • Employees and people walking around the restaurant/bar must wear a mask. 
  • General good hygiene practice (washing hands regularly, sneezing or coughing into your elbow or into a handkerchief, etc.) must be strictly applied inside the restaurant. 

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

A minimum distance of 2 meters must be respected between each person practicing an activity (e.g.  gyms) and a minimum of 1 meter is applicable for static persons (e.g. spas).When those distances cannot be respected, a mask should be worn both by customers and employees. Public restrooms are closed. Where possible, people should be encouraged not to use common facilities (lockers, showers, etc). Groups are allowed up to a maximum of 10 persons. Reminders of social distancing and good hygiene practice should be displayed as much as possible in the leisure facility. 

Latest government advice

 

Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes. The government has put a variety of measures in place to support businesses, such as:

  • Companies in the hotel, catering, café, tourism, events, sports, culture and related sectors, which have suffered a very significant decline in activity, are receiving increased support from the State until December 31st (aid up to 10 000 euros if requested before 15 September 2020). However, this only applies to eligible companies involved in such activities with 10- 20 employees and a turnover of EUR 1-2 million.
  • Ordinance No. 2020-306 provides for an extension of the deadlines related to matters that expired during the health emergency period (12 March 2020 to 23 June 2020). However, time limits for tax returns (Corporate Tax, VAT, Income Tax, etc.) are not affected by the Ordinance.
  • Companies can request, without providing further justification, a 3 month deferral for the payment of their forthcoming direct taxes that are due (in principle due on 5 or 15 June and for those due on 5 and 15 July). Only the following taxes are included within the scope of this measure: corporate tax (instalments), payroll tax, business Property Tax (CFE), business value-added local contribution (CVAE). Companies need to complete a special form and send it back to their respective local tax Centre (“SIE”). If a deferred payment is not sufficient to overcome their cash flow problems, companies can request a discount on their direct taxes. The scope of the taxes concerned is the same as for deferred payment. A discount will only be granted in case of serious difficulties that make a deferral of tax payment insufficient. These difficulties must be justified by the company. 
  • It is possible for companies to obtain accelerated repayment of tax credits which should normally be refunded in the course of year 2020.
  • Companies may temporarily cease their activity or reduce employees’ working time without the employees’ consent, while guaranteeing employees a financial compensation package of 70% of their gross salary for hours not worked, which will represent more than 80% of their net salary due to favourable social security treatment. The government will support 100% of the amount companies allow to compensate the reduction of employees’ working time. Companies which obtain the express or implicit authorization of the administrative authority will get financial assistance from the State in order to be able to pay employees.
  • From 1 July, companies will be able to decrease to working within a 40% limit and for a period of two years. The State will compensate part of the employees’ loss of revenue depending on the decrease of their working hours. 

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes but the measures are limited.

The tenant must pay to its landlord the rent and charges for the 2nd and the 3rd quarter 2020 but can benefit from the following support:

  • For companies benefiting from the “Solidarity Fund” (in French, « fonds de solidarité »), Ordinance No. 2020-316  states that landlords shall not charges tenants for penalties, fees, damages or terminate leases because of the failure to pay  rent or charges due between 12 March and  10 September 2020. The companies able to benefit from the “Solidarity Fund” are, pursuant to a Decree dated 30 March 2020, those companies which comply with the following conditions : (i) are not controlled by a commercial company (ii), have suffered a loss of turnover of at least 50% / 80% during the concerned period, (iii) have a workforce of less than or equal 10 / 20 employees (v), have a turnover of EUR 1 / 2 million, (vi) have a taxable profit of 60,000 €. In other words, only small companies are able to benefit from this initiative.
  • For all companies not able to benefit from the Solidarity Fund, Ordinance No. 2020-306 states that penalties, fees, damages or the right of termination (clause résolutoire), as a result of rent or charges due between 12 March and 23 June 2020 are postponed until 23 June 2020.

 

Local Contacts:

Alexandre Vuchot, Maroun Abinader, Virginie Esteoule and Rami Kawkabani

Germany

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No.

Since the end of May 2020, the lockdown has been gradually lifted. 

However, various restrictions remain in place and certain businesses are still largely closed, such as discotheques and clubs. 

The latest measures decided in the resolution taken at the summit between the federal government and the states of 27 August 2020 relate to the continuing prohibition of large events, fines for refusal to wear masks, regulations for travel returnees in relation to quarantine and testing requirements, limitation of private festivities and the funding of the digitalisation of schools. 

Due to the federal nature of the German state, the rules, restrictions or opening measures are being coordinated between the federal government and the federal states, but bindingly decided and implemented in detail at state level, resulting in a heterogeneous set of rules and regulations in Germany.

Further, restrictions are decided and implemented locally at district or municipal level depending on the development of the infection numbers. Restrictive measures may be ordered in case a threshold of 50 new infections per 100,000 residents within a period of 7 days is exceeded.

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

Certain opening/easing measures, such as a reduction of the isolation period to 5 days for travel returnees upon provision of satisfactory test results, or the opening of sporting events to the public, will be considered in the course of Autumn 2020. The prohibition of large events where the tracing of contacts is not possible shall apply until the end of 2020.

In all cases, easing or restriction measures are subject to the evolution of the pandemic which is constantly monitored, and a strict and global timeline for easing measures is not in place.


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes.

However, in certain regions hotels may face a prohibition to host visitors who have been in risk areas in the last 14 days. Travel limitations, also within Germany, may apply in this context. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes.

Social distancing of 1.5 metres is still the official requirement. Further, hotels shall develop and implement hygiene concepts covering aspects such as social distancing, disinfection and cleaning and risk reduction. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Companies are obliged to develop and implement a hygiene concept based on the current risk assessment. It is required to avoid unnecessary contact in the workforce and with customers, to comply with general hygiene measures and to minimize the risk of infection in the event of necessary contact through special hygiene and protective measures (e.g. masks). In addition, companies are still encouraged to enable home working wherever practical.

Latest government advice

Federal Government: Regulations and Restrictions

Federal Government: Regulations in Federal States


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes, subject to the development and strict implementation of hygiene concepts e.g. social distancing, disinfection measures, contact tracing.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes, subject to the development and strict implementation of hygiene concepts e.g. social distancing, disinfection measures.

Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

The federal government as well as the federal states and local authorities have implemented various measures to provide financial support, such as a multi-billion rescue fund, loan through state-run development bank KfW, interim aid and reduction of VAT.

Federal Government: Information for companies and the self-employed

Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes.

The law “to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in civil, bankruptcy and criminal procedure law” of March 2020 has introduced a temporary suspension of the landlord’s termination right in case of COVID-19 caused payment defaults occurring from 1 April to 30 June 2020 that applies to both, residential and commercial leases.

The suspension of the termination right of the landlord because of COVID-19 related rent payment default between April and June 2020 tenant applies until 30 June 2022 at the latest. If the rent is not paid by 30 June 2022, the landlord is entitled to terminate the lease for this payment default. The law does not grant to the tenant a right to refuse performance but only protection against termination. In addition, default interest is payable until the actual payment (unless the landlord waives the claim for default interest).

 

Local Contacts:

Elie Kaufman

Hong Kong

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No.

Regarding individuals, there are no mandatory requirements for people to stay at home or to work from home.  There are regulations on social distancing with group gatherings being limited to four persons (this will remain in force until 24 September 2020, subject to further assessment).

Businesses are now open with some restrictions in place (e.g. mandatory mask-wearing and limitation on number of customers etc).

For catering businesses, there are restrictions in place (please see response below under "Hotel facilities status"). 

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

If the number of daily cases continues to decrease, it is anticipated that the Government will relax or lift some of the restrictions (e.g. group gatherings) in the next 2-3 weeks.


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes.

Hotels are advised to suspend any mass gatherings or social activities within the hotel premises.  Catering services will need to comply with the existing requirements.

It is also recommended for hotels to provide alcohol hand sanitisers to guests, enhance cleaning and disinfection of premises and to check the travel history of guests.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes.

Hotel staff are advised to wear surgical masks, maintain good personal hygiene and follow appropriate social distancing (at least 1 metre apart) whenever practicable.

Latest government advice

 

Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

Restaurants are permitted to open. From 18 September 2020, dine-in services are allowed from 5am to 11:59pm.  During dine-in hours, restaurants will have to operate at 50% capacity, with tables to be kept at least 1.5 metres apart and each table capped at four people maximum.  

Bars and nightclubs (which have been closed since 15 July 2020) will reopen on 18 September 2020, with similar restrictions to operate at 50% capacity and groups of up to four people permitted to gather.  Live performances and dancing are not allowed.

These restrictions will remain in force until 24 September 2020, subject to further assessment.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

Fitness centres, sports premises (including swimming pools, tennis courts) and beauty parlours (including spas, bathhouses and massage establishments) have been reopened since 4 September 2020.

Any person within the fitness centre or sports premises is required to wear a mask at all times except when the person is exercising with a distance of at least 1.5 metres from any other person (except a coach or other staff member), exercising within any outdoor premises, swimming, or having a shower.  No more than four persons may be allowed at each fitness station/equipment, and training classes must comply with the same gathering limit.  Swimming pools will have to operate at 50% capacity.

For beauty parlours, all staff must wear protective gears such as masks and face shield/goggles at all times when providing service to customers and the gears have to be changed and sanitised after service is provided to a customer.  Customers may only be served upon appointment.  Similarly, no more than four persons may be allowed in each partitioned service area.

These restrictions will remain in force until 24 September 2020, subject to further assessment.

Latest government advice


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

The government has launched an Employment Support Scheme (ESS) to provide wage subsidies to eligible employers to retain their employees, in return for employers undertaking not to implement redundancy. The application deadlines for the first tranche and second tranche of ESS have since passed (deadline of the first tranche was 14 June 2020 and second tranche was 13 September 2020).  

The government also launched the Hotel Sector Support Scheme as part of its Anti-epidemic Fund, which was in addition to the ESS as mentioned above. Eligible hotels with 100 or less licensed guestrooms were able to apply for a one-off subsidy of HKD300,000. Eligible hotels with 101 or more licensed guestrooms were able apply a one-off subsidy of HKD400,000. The application deadline for this Hotel Sector Support Scheme has since passed (deadline was 18 May 2020).

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

No.

 

Local Contacts:

Pattie Walsh, Jeannette Tam, Stephanie Wong and Jenny Kwan

Hungary

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

Yes.

A main rule, based on a government decree effective as of 1 September 2020, is that only Hungarian citizens may enter the territory of Hungary in passenger traffic. Subject to the nature of their journey, other special provisions and detailed rules pertain to foreign citizens, which can also be found in the relevant government decree. Separate provisions pertain to the participants and organisers of sports events, those appearing at cultural events, technical staff working at such events and the employees of affiliated companies. A separate regulation pertains to entry into Hungary from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia by Hungarian citizens and the citizens of these countries.  

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

The new rules will be in force until 1 October 2020. However, the situation is being reviewed regularly.


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

No, but many hotels are implementing social distancing measures on a voluntary basis. Regarding individuals, the current guidance advises that people should wear masks in public places and maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

The staff are advised to wear masks.

Latest government advice

National Centre for Public Health

Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes, restaurants and bars are permitted to be open. Employees at such establishments are required to wear masks.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) are also permitted to be open. 
 

Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

The government has launched a comprehensive set of measures to support businesses. This includes suspension of loan payments, tax relief, grants, and interest-free loans.

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

The only relief was that leases could not be terminated due to non-payment of rent until 30 June 2020.

 

Local Contacts:

David Dederick and Ferenc Mátrai

Italy

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No. 

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

Italy has started its easement since 18th May. There are no restrictions on travelling within the country, while there is an obligation to carry out a COVID test when coming from some foreign countries such as Spain and Greece.


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

 Yes, all staff should wear a mask, and their temperature has to be measured before accessing the hotel.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

 Yes, all staff should wear a mask, and their temperature has to be measured before accessing the hotel.

Latest government advice


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes, but only with meal served at the table. Each table has to be at a distance of 1.5 metres from the other, and each customer has to leave contact details in order to be contacted in case of emergency. 

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

They are open, but with very limited access. They can be accessed only by one person at the time or by members of the same family. It does not apply to open air structures (such as external swimming pool).

Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

A "holiday voucher" is granted to families with a low income. The amount of the voucher will vary from EUR150 (per single person) up to EUR500 for a full family, to be used in a hotel structure. A tax credit for renovation of hotel and leisure businesses has also been set.

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

The government is providing for a tax credit equal to 60% of the rent due for April, May, June and July.

 

Local Contacts:

Antonella Ceschi

Mainland China

Updated 9 December 2020

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No.

China has already eased lockdown.

Cities throughout China are now divided into high-risk, medium-risk and low-risk. The risk level is to be updated from time to time according to the latest development of the epidemic situation in that city/area.

Low-risk areas are encouraged to resume trading, production and normal life as far as possible.

Medium-risk areas can resume trading, production and individuals' activities but to a limited capacity.

High-risk areas (such as certain areas in Inner Mongolia) must focus on controlling the pandemic and must only keep necessary public facilities and national economy and public welfare related businesses open.

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

There is no schedule for easing lockdown. However, the local governments may change their policies, especially for high-risk areas.


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Hotels are in general permitted to open in low-risk areas. 

Hotels in medium-risk areas are in general required to suspend their operations or open in a limited capacity.

Hotels in high-risk areas are not allowed to open.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Social distancing of 1 meter is highly recommended in China. There may also be stricter social distancing required by local authorities. For example, hotels in Shanxi province have been recommended to keep a social distance of 1.5 meters.  However, in practice, this social distancing measure is not easy to implement.  

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Hotels have been advised by local authority to implement certain measures in relation to their employees, such as reporting of health conditions daily and mandatory wearing of masks and gloves. High frequency cleaning must be done of canteens, counter-tops, hotel rooms and other high risk surfaces or areas.  Employees returning from high and medium risk areas must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Latest government advice


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Hotel restaurants/bars are in general permitted to open in low-risk areas. 

Hotel restaurants/bars in medium-risk areas are normally required to suspend their business or open to a limited capacity.

Hotel restaurants/bars in high-risk areas are not permitted to open.

Social distancing, temperature monitoring, measures to limit the movement of people and maximum capacity requirements  must be adopted during the operation of public areas in hotels such as restaurants, bars or fitness areas.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Same as above.

Latest government advice


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

The local government in China have launched a comprehensive set of measures to support businesses. This includes but is not limited to providing credit support to companies which have suffered heavily during Covid-19, reducing interest on company loans or extending repayment periods, granting additional loans without the borrower having to pay off the principal first, exempting/reducing rental costs, allowing delay of social insurance payments or waiving late payment fees for social insurance.

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes.

Relief measures vary from place to place.

  • In Shanghai, medium scale or small scale business enterprises who lease the premises of state-owned companies can enjoy a 2-month rental exemption. More information available here.
  • Shandong province also has similar relief measure in place. Medium scale or small scale business enterprises who lease the premises of state-owned companies can enjoy 1 to 3 months' rental exemption or monthly rental can be reduced by half for 1 to 3 months. More information available here.

 

Local Contacts:

Grace Zhao

Poland

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

Currently, there are numerous restrictions on both everyday life and running a business, i.a., the obligation to cover the nose and mouth, the number of participants in public gatherings is limited to 5 people, and parties and meetings organised at homes can be attended by a maximum of 5 people, excluding the hosts. It is also prohibited to organise weddings and other family celebrations.

The restrictions also affect many sectors of the economy. For example, the activity of cinemas, theatres, art galleries, museums, night clubs, swimming pools, gyms, and fitness centres is prohibited. Restaurants and bars may only provide services consisting in preparing and serving food take-away and delivery. 
Moreover, learning in schools and universities is conducted remotely.

From 28 December 2020, shopping centres with a sales area exceeding 2,000 sq. m. (which reopened at the end of November) will be closed, except for, i.a., grocery stores, pharmacies,  stores selling books and newspapers. 

As of 13 June, Poland has restored full border traffic within the European Union. However, from 28 December 2020, anyone entering Poland using mass transport will be obliged to quarantine for 10 days, except for, i.a., those who received COVID-19 vaccine or are COVID-19 convalescents.

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

Current restrictions are valid until 27 December 2020. From 28 December 2020, the restrictions will be tightened and will be valid until 17 January 2021. However, this does not mean that all the restrictions will be lifted after that date. As announced by the government, the restrictions will be gradually lifted as the number of coronavirus cases decreases.  


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Hotels are open, however, they can only operate to a very limited extent. 

Hotels may only offer accommodation to:

  • guests travelling on business;
  • athletes participating in training camps and sports competitions;
  • medical professionals;
  • patients and their caregivers, if the need to provide them with accommodation results from the conditions of providing certain healthcare services. 

The operation of worker’s hostels is also permitted.

Currently, the categories of hotel guests are defined quite generally. However, this will change from 28 December. From this date, hotel operations will be even more limited, and hotels will only be able to offer accommodation to strictly defined categories of guests. Hotels will not be available to persons on business trips, with the exception of specific professions, i.a., medical professionals, pilots and aircrew, drivers engaged in road transport, and litigation attorneys. 
People using hotel services should also have documents confirming the nature of their travel, for example, a document issued by the employer.
The categories of hotel guests are specifically listed in the government regulations introducing restrictions.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes.

Social distancing of 1.5 m is still the official government position. According to the official guidelines, the distance between workers should be at least 1.5 m (however 2 m is advised), working from home if possible is recommended, as well as minimising the number of meetings. Telephone and e-mail contact is preferred. The time when guests are at reception desks should be minimised.

Many hotels are implementing safety measures, including hand sanitisation stations, as well as protective screenings.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes.

There are some public instructions for employers in the hotel sector, according to which each employer should reduce the number of employees working simultaneously (e.g. by splitting shift) and must observe the rules for ventilating, cleaning and disinfecting premises. Hotels are also encouraged to prepare rooms for those self-isolating. It is mandatory for employees to properly wash hands before starting work, and to wear a nose and mouth guard (alternatively a visor) and protective gloves while performing duties.

Latest government advice

Ministry of Development - Hotels
Ministry of Development - Temporary limitations
 

Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Hotel restaurants and bars may operate, but  meals must be delivered for hotel guests directly to their rooms.  

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Operation of swimming pools, spas, and gyms in hotels is prohibited. 

Latest government advice


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Pursuant to the regulations introduced in connection with the pandemic, during the period of the ban on operating in shopping centres with a sales area exceeding 2,000 sq. m. reciprocal obligations of the parties arising from the leases expire, provided that after the ban on conducted activity ceases the tenant offers the landlord to extend the agreement for a period of the ban increased by an additional six months. If the tenant fails to submit the offer the landlord is no longer bound by the expiry of obligations. 

The Polish Parliament has adopted many acts which deal with various economic aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering financial aid to entrepreneurs (including loans).

Local Contacts:

Marcin Świerżewski and Karol Nowaczek 

Slovak Republic

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

The Slovak Republic shall be in lockdown from 19 December until 10 January 2021. 

Since the epidemiological situation has worsened significantly in the past few weeks, new measures have been adopted:

  • As of 19 December, there is a general curfew. However, a journey to a hotel facility is allowed as one of the exceptions.
  • There are more stringent conditions as to the operation of hotels, ski lifts and air cables. A negative antigen or RT-PCT test for Covid-19 not older than 72 hours is required for every customer, it does not apply for children younger than 10 years.

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

The current lockdown should, according to the latest information, last until 10 January.

New stricter measures may be considered based on the development of the epidemiological situation.

 


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes. 

The following shall apply for hotel facilities:

  • A negative antigen or RT-PCT test for Covid-19 not older than 72 hours is required for every customer, it does not apply for children younger than 10 years.
  • Sanitary facilities must be equipped with a liquid soap and paper towels. 
  • Frequency of cleaning, disinfection of contact surfaces shall be increased. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Particularly, employees of hotel facilities must have their upper respiratory tracts covered with masks, respiratory without expiratory ventil or a scarf.

Latest government advice

Coronavirus in the Slovak Republic

Government Gazette, Slovak Republic


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Serving food at common premises is prohibited.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes

It is recommended to ensure disinfection of gym equipment after use by each client. Hand sanitizers and paper towels have to be provided to both staff and clients.

Staff must ensure the greatest possible dispersion of people in locker rooms, which means to occupy the far ends of the room or to leave some lockers unoccupied. It is necessary to perform an intensive cleaning every day after closure. 

In spas, all laundry must be disinfected and 100% air exchange must be performed using air conditioning. 

Latest government advice

Coronavirus in the Slovak Republic

Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic 


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

The Government has launched a comprehensive set of measures to support businesses. It includes wage and rent subsidies, tax reliefs, governmental loans, deferral of tax prepayments, prolongation of the period for submission of tax returns etc.  The entrepreneurs are granted the temporary protection for those in financial difficulties when meeting the certain conditions.

For detailed information please see:

 

Government Office of the Slovak Republic

Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic 

Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes.

Entrepreneurs and employers affected by the COVID-19 measures may apply for financial support to repay rent for the amount in which the landlord provides a discount from the rent to the tenant. The maximum amount of the rent provided by the state is 50% of the rent. 

For detailed information please see:

 

Government Office of the Slovak Republic

Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic

 

Local Contacts:

Vojtěch Chloupek, Katarína Pfeffer and Zuzana Juríčková

Singapore

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No.

The Singapore government has implemented a three-phased approach to resume activities with the gradual re-opening of economic activities in each phase. 

From 19 June 2020 to 27 December 2020, the country was in Phase 2, where most of Singapore's economy had been reopened (including hotels, F&B outlets, retailers, and places of worship) subject to safe management measures.

From 28 December 2020 onwards, the country entered Phase 3, which allowed for further re-opening of activities in the community. 

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

Restrictions will be further eased if and when the situation allows. 


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes.

Hotels that wish to resume the following activities must first submit an application to the Singapore Tourism Board for assessment and obtain approval from the Ministry of Trade and Industry:-

  • Re-opening recreation areas for children (e.g. Kids' Club).
  • Providing accommodation to guests for the purposes of leisure (e.g. staycations).

There is mandatory implementation of SafeEntry, which is a national digital check-in system deployed by the Singapore government to record the personal details of all individuals who visit public venues to facilitate contact tracing efforts. Hotels should also encourage the use of TraceTogether, which is a digital system implemented by the Singapore Government to allow better contract tracing. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes.

The following measures apply:

  • Occupancy must be limited to no more than 1 person per 8 sqm guest-accessible public space at any point in time.
  • Implement queue markers with at least 1 metre spacing between individuals where queues are expected. 
  • Maintain at least 1 metre spacing between terminals at the front desk.
  • Gatherings must be limited to 8 or fewer persons.
  • Marriage solemnisations of no more than 100 pax, excluding the solemniser, vendors and hotel staff. Vendors and hotel staff should be kept to the minimum required. 
  • Training and professional development classes organised by a permitted enterprise providing an education service must be limited to 50 pax including the trainer.
  • For work-related events held outside of workplaces and work meetings, up to 50 persons at any time or the maximum number of individuals which the room or venue may accommodate if there is a distance of at least 1 metre between any 2 individuals, whichever is lower. F&B must not be the main feature of the event. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes.

These measures include:

  • Screening every individual (including each guest, visitor, delivery personnel, contractor and staff) for COVID-19 symptoms before allowing him or her to enter the hotel premises and before he or she enters each guest facility, including F&B establishments. 
  • Requiring every individual to wear a mask within the hotel, except where allowed under the Control Order (e.g. where a guest is within his or her room, engaging in strenuous physical exercise, eating, drinking, etc.).
  • Ensure clear physical spacing of at least 1 metre between persons.
  • Implement SafeEntry to record the entry of all personnel. 
  • Encourage every individual entering the hotel to download and use TraceTogether to enable efficient contact tracing.

Latest government advice

Advisory for Hotels in Phase 3

Checklist of Safe Management Measures for Hotels


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

F&B establishments must implement safe management measures, including:

  • Each table or group must be limited to 8 or fewer persons, with at least one-metre spacing between tables or groups.
  • Self-service buffet lines must be suspended.
  • All forms of public entertainment (e.g. live music, television screenings) are not allowed.
  • The sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited after 22:30.

There are also advisories in place regarding queue management, crowd management, contact tracing, health checks, and cleanliness and hygiene. 

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

For gyms and sports facilities, the following restrictions are in place:

  • Facilities can only admit a maximum number of persons according to its gross floor area based on 8 sqm per person. No facility, regardless of size, may admit more than 50 persons without specific approval. 
  • 2 metres between individuals should be maintained while exercising and playing sport. Physical distancing of 3 metres between individuals should be observed for indoors high intensity of high movement exercise classes. 
  • Group activities are limited to no more than 8 participants. If there is more than one group sharing a space, the groups must not interact and must maintain a distance of 3 metres apart from one another at all times. 

Masks should be worn as a default. Masks can be taken off when performing strenuous exercise, although it is still recommended as good practice even under such circumstances. 

There are also advisories in place regarding crowd management, contact tracing, health checks, cleaning protocols, and ventilation. 

For spas and wellness services, general safe management measures for retail establishments would apply. There are also advisories in replace regarding cleaning protocols.

Latest government advice


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes

The Singapore government has launched a comprehensive set of measures to support businesses, including under the Unity, Resilience, Solidarity and Fortitude Budgets; waiver of licence fees for hotels, travel agents and tourist guides; and assistance with third-party professional cleaning and disinfection costs for premises with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes, including the following:

  • A 100% property tax rebate has been made available for all non-residential properties. 
  • The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act mandates that the landlord must pass this benefit on to the tenant, whether by way of payment or offset of rental fees. 
  • A tenant who becomes unable to pay rent on account of cash-flow issues due to COVID-19 may obtain a statutory moratorium for temporary suspension of rent payment. A notice for relief must be served on the landlord, and any guarantors or sureties. Once the landlord receives such notice, it is precluded from taking action against the tenant for non-payment, including the following: (a) continuing or commencing court and insolvency proceedings due to the non-payment, (b) exercising a right of re-entry or forfeiture due to the non-payment, or (c) terminating the lease due to non-payment of rent and other monies. Such relief is available only for contracts where rent falls due on or after 1 February 2020, and for contracts that were entered into before 25 March 2020.

 

Local Contacts:

Lorraine Tay and Penelope Ng

Spain

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No.

The country is not currently in national lockdown. However, there are some regions, depending on the pandemic impact, that have enforced restrictive measures on their community (limited capacity, restrictions on the right of assembly etc.).

Four different phases were implemented for the relief of the lockdown in Spain, each 15 days long with a possibility to extend them another 15 days, starting on 4 May and ending when the State of alarm was lifted on 21 June. Each of the phases included different measures and restriction on all sectors of the economy, from the use of offices to the capacity of bars and restaurants. Certain of the aforementioned regions have reverted to earlier phases due to an increase in cases.

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

On 9 June, 2020, the government approved the Royal Decree-Law 21/2020 on urgent prevention, containment and coordination measures to deal with the health crisis caused by COVID-19 ("Royal Decree-Law 21/2020"), which imposes sanitary measures for life after lockdown (the "new normal"). The official ending of the lockdown was, as abovementioned, when the State of Alarm was lifted on 21 June, 2020. 

The new measures include social distancing (1.5 meters) or the mandatory use of masks in public places (public transport and closed public spaces).

Furthermore, a new state of alarm (“New State of Alarm”) was declared through the Royal Decree 926/2020 dated 25 October, and extended through the Royal Decree 956/2020 dated 3 November. This extension lasts until 9 May 2021. With this New State of Alarm, the Autonomous Communities have the power to establish new lockdowns and other restrictive measures.

The New State of Alarm establishes certain restrictive measures for all the territory such as a curfew or limitations on the number of people that can meet together.

 


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes.

As mentioned above, depending on each Autonomous Community, the hotels shall or shall not be permitted to open. These territories shall implement measures during a certain period of time that may include the prohibition for the hotels to open or limitation on the opening hours or the maximum capacity permitted, among others.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes, as abovementioned, the Royal Decree-Law 21/2020 establishes a necessary social distance of 1.5 meters.

Furthermore, there are certain Autonomous Communities that have imposed the obligatory wearing of masks in public.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes, there is a document (please see link below) that establishes certain measures that hotels have to implement. 

These measures include, among others: drafting a contingency plan that includes rules for their staff; sanitization of uniforms every day; requiring employees to work in the same groups so as not to mix; and measures to ensure social distancing.

Latest government advice


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

There are certain restrictions that include, among others: a limit on seating capacity, prohibition of common utensils (such as napkin holders, menus or salt shakers). Also, a mechanism to avoid crowds has been implemented. There are also recommendations for room service. The waiters must wear masks, and there shall be hand sanitizing products on display for the customers.

There are official documents for both restaurants and bars that must be complied with (please see link below).

As mentioned above, depending on each Autonomous Community, the hotel restaurants/bars shall or shall not be permitted to open. These territories shall implement measures during a certain period of time that may include the prohibition for hotels to open its bars or restaurants or the limitation on the opening hours or the maximum capacity permitted, among others.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

There is a limited capacity on leisure facilities, and as indicated above, there must be hand sanitizing products for use by customers. Sanitizing and cleaning procedures must be updated to ensure that common spaces remain sanitized.

There are specific official documents for gyms and spas that must be followed (please see link below).

Latest government advice


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

The government has launched a comprehensive set of measures to support businesses. This includes tax relief, grants, loans and the furlough scheme. 

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes.

Commercial tenants have been able to request a deferral in payment provided that it complies with the measures established under Chapter 1 of Royal Decree-Law 15/2020 dated 21 April on urgent measures to support the economy and employment. The requirements include, among others: not to have already signed a different agreement with the landlord (such as a rent reduction or another deferral), that the activity has ceased due to the government rules or if it has not, a 75% downfall on the turnover.

However, these measures may be of limited application. For example, they only impose the obligations on "large holders" (natural or legal persons with more than 10 urban properties).

 

Local Contacts:

Jacobo Sanchez-Andrade, Isidro del Moral and Gadea Perez de Guzman

Sweden

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

No, Sweden has never had any lockdown during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Sweden is one of the few countries known for not closing down hotels and/or restaurants, other than placing general restrictions – and recommendations – covering all sectors (see details below). 

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

Some of the (general) restrictions are phasing out, such as the travel restrictions.

Regarding work of administrative personnel, the newly updated recommendation is still that, if possible, people should stay at home as much as possible and therefore working from home is encouraged. 


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes

Hotels have been permitted to stay open throughout the outbreak. The regulatory environment has steadily been building up to ensure the safety of the public (see below). 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

 Yes. These include:

- Social distancing
- Maximum capacities  (50) of guests
- Ensuring adequate space between tables
- Providing written information to employees and customers such as marking safe distances on the floor
- Providing satisfactory sanitization/cleansing services

The regulations come from the health agency and are binding and breaches may result in sanctions.

No hotels have so far been subject to major sanctions for violation, but some restaurants have been closed because of non-compliance with the new regulations. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes. 

The health agency still (30 July) recommends that employees, if possible, and by consensus with management, should work from home. The recommendation runs until 31 December 2020, with the possibility of extension. The agency has noted that in sectors such as healthcare working from home is not possible.

The work-environment legislation states that the employer must do everything necessary to prevent the employee from being exposed to ill health or accidents. If an employee needs to work from home due to the risk of Covid-19, the employer is still responsible for ensuring that the employee's work environment is safe. The requirements in the regulations on the design of the workplace can usually be met whilst working from home, but it is important to think about, for example, lighting and ergonomics.

Latest government advice


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes. 

Restaurants and bars have been allowed to stay open throughout the pandemic. However, regulations have slowly come into force to ensure safety of customers (such as the social distancing requirements above).  Click here to read more.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes. 

Leisure facilities are subject to the same social distancing rules set out above. They must also perform a risk assessment using the applicable risk assessment tool.

Outdoor activities are encouraged, but for indoor activities, the main regulations are: 

  • Limit the number of participants in the activities if possible.
  • Make sure that there are sufficient amounts of signs and warnings.  
  • Clean toilets and surfaces of training equipment that are touched often.
Click here to read more.

Latest government advice


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

Various support-programmes and benefits have been implemented by legislation and/or executive orders, for the hotel-sector, but some of the benefits have expired at the end of June, despite on-going crisis. Extensions are likely to be granted. 

The most important support measures are the short time work-allowance, rent-rebate, lowered social-security fees and a so called general conversion aid (see below for details). 

Short time work allowance 

Short-time working means that employers can reduce their employees’ working hours and receive financial support from the central government to compensate for a significant part of the costs for keeping the employee.

  • A short-time work allowance is a financial support whereby the employer’s costs for personnel can be reduced by more than one-half at the same time as the employee is receiving up to 90 % of his or her regular salary.
  • Employers may reduce their employees’ working hours by 20%, 40% or 60%.
  • 80% reduction in working hours can be applied for, for three months at a time.
  • The salary ceiling for the financial support is SEK 44,000 per month.
  • An employer may receive the financial support for a period of six calendar months, with the possibility of an extension for an additional three calendar months.
Cost distribution for the reduction of working hours

 

Level

Work hours

Salary drop

Employer

Government

Decreased salary costs

1

20

4%

1%

15%

19 %

2

40

6%

4%

30%

36 %

3

60

7,5%

7,5%

45%

53 %

4

80

12%

8%

60%

72%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Conversion aid

Companies that have lost a lot of sales under the pandemic crisis can apply for a so called conversion aid. 

On 22 June, the applications for conversion aid opened. The conversion aid provides support for fixed costs but the company must have lost at least 30% of its sales during March-April 2020 compared with the same months in 2019.

Application for conversion aid is made via the Swedish Tax Agency ("Skatteverket"). The application is complex and must contain a report of the company's fixed costs such as rent, leasing and interest, as well as how much sales have decreased.

Here is the most important information about conversion aid. 

  • The applicant business can only receive support for fixed costs such as rent, leasing and other business-related, fixed costs.
  • The aid does not cover salary costs. 
  • The aid covers, at best, up to 75 % of the company's fixed costs during March and April 2020.
  • In order for the company to be entitled to the support, the company must have had a turnover of at least 250,000 SEK in the last financial year.
  • Like most other types of aid, in the wake of pandemic crisis, the aid does not apply to companies that were insolvent already, reorganized or domiciled in a tax haven.
  • In order to receive the conversion aid, the company must not have decided on a dividend during the period March-June 2020.
  • If the support amounts to SEK 100,000 or more, an opinion from the auditor is required.
  • The support is paid by the Swedish Tax Agency, and their ambition is that the support will be paid out approximately one week after the application has been received.

Public loans 

A government loan-guarantee/security is proposed for small and mid-sized company's financing needs. The security means that the state guarantees 70 % of new bank loans to companies that have experienced financial difficulties due to the coronavirus, but which are otherwise "viable". The security is issued to the banks, which in turn issues loans to the companies. As a general rule, companies may borrow up to 75 million SEK. Companies apply for utilization of the security with a lending bank. Although the proposal is primarily aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, there is no formal restriction on size for a company to be able to participate in the program. 

Lowered social-security fees

The Government proposed a temporary reduction in employer contributions during the period 1 March - 30 June 2020. The reduction means that only the pension contribution of 10.21% must be paid (otherwise a total of 31,42%). The reduction is proposed to apply to up to 30 employees per company (regardless of the number of employees in the company) and up to a salary sum of 25,000 SEK per month according to information from the Government Offices. This means that the employer receives a relief of a maximum of 5,300 SEK per employee and month, i.e. a maximum of 159,000 SEK per company and month.

Temporary discount for rental costs in vulnerable industries

It is proposed that companies in vulnerable industries such as hotels, restaurants and retail have the opportunity for temporary rent reductions. The proposal is that the state should bear 50% of the rent reduction and up to 50% of the fixed rent. (see next section for more details) 

Click here for more details.


Is there relief for commercial tenants?

No.

Although there have been demands to restrict landlords' legal remedies against non-paying commercial tenants, no legislation has been enacted. The Swedish government explains its position by referring to the support measures above, and also a temporary rent rebate subsidy – covering up to 50 % of a possible temporary rent settlement between the landlord and tenant (provided the amount is no more than 25 % higher than the original rent).

Claims of force majeure against the landlord are unlikely to be successful because the standard contracts provide only for suspension of the landlord's obligations. There is usually no corresponding provision in which the commercial tenant does not have to perform his obligations in the lease. 

Since it is also in the landlord's own interest that the tenant's business survives, the most practical advice is therefore not to initiate force majeure claims but rather to discuss different types of payment rearrangements of the rent (and to take advantage of the relevant governmental support measures).

 

Local Contacts:

Gabriel Lidman and Ersen Bethersen 

The Netherlands

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

Yes, on 15 December the Netherlands has entered into its strictest lockdown so far. This includes, among others, the following measures:

  • all people should keep a 1,5m distance from others who do not belong to their households;
  • people can only go outdoors by themselves, with members of their household or in a group of no more than 2 people; 
  • people are not allowed to receive more than 2 visitors aged 13 or over to their homes per day (provided that on 24, 25 and 26 December people may receive 3 visitors aged 13 or over);
  • a number of locations will be closed:
    • stores (apart from essential stores such as stores selling mainly foods, pharmacies, opticians, hearing specialists, and stores that carry out repairs and maintenance); 
    • all establishments that serve food and drinks (including in hotels- these may remain open but they may not serve food and drinks) (take-away is possible); 
    • locations where contact-based professions are carried out such as hairdressers and nail salons; 
    • museums, theatres, concert halls, cinemas and casino’s; 
    • indoor sporting venues such as gyms, swimming pools, saunas and spas; and
    • zoos and amusements parks; 
  • in all public indoor spaces that are open people aged 13 and over must wear a non-medical facemask; 
  • no alcohol may be sold or delivered between 20.00 and 07.00 and people may not drink or carry alcohol in public spaces;
  • people should be working from home, unless this is absolutely impossible. If an infection occurs at a place of work, the workplace in question can, under circumstances, be closed down for 14 days; 
  • primary and secondary schools and institutions for intermediate (MBO), higher and scientific education (HBO and universities) must provide online education in order to reduce in-person contact; and
  • public transport is for essential travel only and people aged 13 and over must wear a non-medical face mask while using public transport. 
Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

On 12 January 2021 the government announced that the current restrictions will remain in operation until at least Tuesday 9 February 2021. The government will decide whether there is room to lift certain lockdown restrictions ultimately on Tuesday 2 February 2021. 


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes, hotels are permitted to be open. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes, hotels are required to ensure that all people within their hotel can maintain a 1,5m distance from each other.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes, the official advice states that those who can work at home should.

Latest government advice

Government of the Netherlands 


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

No, hotel restaurants/bars are not permitted to be open for dining in. In addition, hotels are also not allowed to serve their staying guests food or drinks via room service, although hotel guests are allowed to take-away within the hotels.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

No, hotel leisure facilities are not permitted to be open. 

Latest government advice

Government of Netherlands 


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes, the government provides emergency aid to businesses, including income compensation, (partial) funding of salaries of employees, tax relief and credit facilitation (available in Dutch here and partial in English here

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

There is currently no relief provided by the government specifically to commercial tenants.

Local Contacts:

Roelien van Neck and Tessa van den Ende

UAE

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

  • Depending on Emirate, select public places have reopened with reduced capacity (the exact percentage of restriction differs depending on the nature of the public place and the Emirate).
  • Restrictions preventing large gatherings (precise numbers may vary) are in place.  Restrictions depend on the nature of the public place and the purpose of the gathering.
  • Movement restrictions apply in some Emirates which regulate the movement of people from one Emirate to another.

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

No official timeline for the easing of lockdowns have been communicated, however any easing will vary depending on the Emirate.


Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Yes, with certain capacity restrictions in place depending on Emirate. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes.

In addition, and as with other public areas, masks must be worn by all guests, except when at a designated area of the pool/beach, or when seated at a table in on-site cafés/ restaurants. Temperature checks are in place. Rooms cannot be released to new guests until sanitisation has been completed and a 24 hour period has passed.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes.

Staff must also wear the required mask and must undergo additional training on cleanliness and sanitisation protocols. Staff must be tested for COVID-19 every 15 days and temperatures checked multiple times per day. 

Latest government advice

N/A


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

Tables must be 2.5 meters apart, 4 to a table and menus to be sterilised after use (if not available via app).

As for bars, they are open but customers must remain seated at tables. No standing or mixing is allowed.

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Yes.

Social distancing measures are in place along with more frequent disinfection measures so opening times may be impacted. Slight differences depending on Emirate.

With respect to gyms, these have reopened. Rules vary slightly depending on Emirate, but reduced capacity, masks to be worn, temperature checks and social distancing are common place. 

Latest government advice

N/A

Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

Stimulus plans are in place for those sectors most affected by COVID-19.  The nature, degree and extent of support varies depending on the Emirate.

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes.

  • Differs depending on landlord – relief has ranged from deferring rent payments, rent waivers, or waiver of penalties associated with late rent payment. 
  • Commercial tenants struggling to pay rents are exempt from eviction.

 

Local Contacts:

 Melissa Murray, Eddie Chiu, and Renée Nugent

UK

Lockdown status:

Is the country currently in lockdown, and to what extent?

Yes.

The UK is currently in a third national lockdown, with government advice to stay at home and work from home (where possible). 

Individuals must not leave their home except where necessary or for the following reasons:

- Shop for basic necessities
- Go to work, if they cannot do so from home 
- Exercise with their household or one other person once a day 
- Meet their support bubble
- Seek medical assistance
- Attend education/childcare (if eligible)

Is there a timeline for easing lockdown, and what is it?

There are now multiple  vaccines, which haves been approved and already been rolled out in the UK to those in vulnerable groups. It is expected that lockdown may be eased as more people become vaccinated against the virus throughout 2021. The Government’s aim is to have all individuals in the top four vulnerable groups vaccinated by mid-February 2021. 

Hospitality status:

Are hotels permitted to open?

Hotels must close, except for specific circumstances such as where they act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes. 

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement social distancing measures?

Yes.

Social distancing of 2 metres is still the official government position. Many hotels have implemented  comprehensive safety measures for when they are permitted to be open including temperature checking, hand sanitisation stations, compulsory face masks, facial recognition systems, one-way systems and protective screening.

Are hotels required (or have they been advised to) implement any measures in relation to their staff?

Yes.

The official advice states that those who can work at home should. Therefore, administrative staff may prefer to continue to work remotely.

For those who cannot work remotely, the government guidance requires employers implement safety measures to protect staff.

It is a legal requirement for staff and customers to wear face coverings in hospitality venues when they are permitted to be open except when eating or drinking (or the individual  is exempt). Employer’s must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is self-isolating to come to work. 

It is an offence for a relevant business to fail to take all reasonable measures to:
i) Require adherence to social contact restrictions when taking a booking, allowing groups inside the hotel and once groups are inside; 
ii) Ensure there is adequate distance between the tables (usually 2m). 

Latest government advice


Hotel facilities status:

Are hotel restaurants/bars permitted to be open for dining in, and what restrictions are in place?

Not during the national lockdown. All restaurants and bars must be closed. 

Are hotel leisure facilities (gyms, spas) permitted to be open, and what restrictions are in place?

Not during the national lockdown. All gyms and spas must be closed. 

Latest government advice


Government support:

Is the government providing support to businesses?

Yes.

The government has launched a comprehensive set of measures to support businesses. This includes tax relief, grants, loans and the furlough scheme.

Is there relief for commercial tenants?

Yes.

The usual remedies available to commercial landlords have been severely restricted. Until 31 March 2021, landlords cannot forfeit leases for non-payment of rent or present winding up petitions as a result of coronavirus-related hardship. The Commercial Rents Arrears Recovery (CRAR) cannot be used unless an amount of at least 366 days’ rent is due. 

Local Contacts:

Karen Friebe, Alison Pearce, James Salford, Peter Nicholson, and Charlie White