Businesses need 'clear and early' advice over local lockdowns - The Rugby Observer

Businesses need 'clear and early' advice over local lockdowns

Rugby Editorial 13th Oct, 2020   0

EARLY warnings over lockdowns will be needed to help companies prepare, say the region’s business leaders.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce says firms will need ‘clear and early’ advice should any area be moved into a new Covid-19 tier.

Chamber chief executive Louise Bennett said companies across the patch had taken unprecedented measures over recent months to make themselves Covid-secure.

But, she said, new restrictions announced by the Prime Minister yesterday (Monday October 12) could mean much of the leisure and hospitality sector essentially going back into lockdown should all or part of the region reach the Very High alert level.

Louise said: “The number one priority remains the safety of the public – everyone in business completely understands that.

“Here in Coventry and Warwickshire, our local authorities have worked incredibly hard over the past six months to balance the health crisis with the economic crisis and have worked with us at the Chamber and other organisations to do everything possible to support firms across the patch.

“This new tiered approach will mean businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector having to close again, should the region move to the Very High alert level.

“Obviously, we hope that is avoided but, should we reach that stage, we would urge Government to work with local authorities and businesses in the region to make sure this is communicated clearly and as early as possible to give everyone the best possible chance to prepare.

“Avoiding speculation and rumour ahead of any such announcement is something all businesses would want to avoid.

“It will be crucial that any support available is easy to access and urgently gets to the businesses that need it most.”

British Chambers of Commerce Director General Adam Marshall said: “Intensified restrictions will be a real blow to business and public confidence at a delicate time for the economy.

“Firms have put hard work and precious cash into making their businesses Covid-secure, and must be allowed to operate unless there is overwhelming and clear evidence to the contrary. Businesses cannot be subjected to a rollercoaster of stop-start restrictions with no end in sight.

“Speculation and rumour have badly eroded trust between Westminster, local government, and our businesses communities. At a time when clarity and transparency are critical, local business leaders must be more deeply involved in decision-making, so that the real-world consequences for livelihoods and communities are understood.

“The introduction of any new restrictions must go hand-in-hand with the appropriate level of financial support, both now and into the future.

“Above all, businesses need to see an exit strategy to prevent economic paralysis. Mass testing, faster processing and proportionate financial support for those forced to self-isolate are crucial to supporting businesses and communities in the months ahead.”

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