Chamber claims county firms in dark on future Covid restrictions - The Evesham Observer

Chamber claims county firms in dark on future Covid restrictions

Evesham Editorial 22nd Nov, 2020   0

BUSINESS chiefs have called on the Government to publish its approach to national Coronavirus restrictions in England ahead of the proposed end of the second national lockdown.

With the shutdown due to end on December 2, the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) – which collectively represents more than 70,000 firms of all sizes and sectors across the UK employing six million people – is concerned about the lack of clarity over what form restrictions will take after the current lockdown.

BCC has called for government to publish its plans with at least one week’s notice before restrictions are set to end, allowing firms adequate time to prepare to re-open and trade afterwards.

The group is also pressing government to explain clearly why businesses in a number of sectors have been forced to close despite taking considerable steps at huge expense to comply with Covid-secure guidance, including leisure, non-essential retail and beauty.

It has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to determine what evidence base, if any, was used to inform government guidance on the closure of businesses in England from November 5. This clarity is essential for businesses and government to work together on steps that avoid the need for business closures in future.

The call follows the BCC’s challenge to the Prime Minister to meet five business tests to limit the impact of Coronavirus restrictions on businesses and jobs and take a long-term approach to tackling the pandemic.

Sharon Smith, Chief Executive, Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses cannot re-emerge post lockdown blindfolded. They will need substantial time to prepare for whatever business may look like after December 2 and clear instructions on the strategy going forward into Christmas and the new year.

“Ideally any planned exit out of the countries second lockdown will be complimented with a clear and concise strategy which gives businesses at least a glimpse of what the future may hold, in order for them to plan and navigate the winter months.

“Further restrictions should be evidence-based and be balanced with a complimentary support package that goes hand in hand, providing businesses with the crucial lifeline they may need rather than another hurdle to navigate.”

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