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East Midlands Chamber News

End of national lockdown a relief but businesses need to see evidence for continued restrictions, says East Midlands Chamber

Responding to the Prime Minister’s Winter Plan announcement for ongoing coronavirus restrictions following the end of national lockdown, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “The end of national lockdown will be a relief for many businesses that have been forced to close through no fault of their own, and in spite of the great lengths and expenditure they had gone to in order to reopen safely.

“While we now have greater certainty about what lies ahead over the coming months, this isn’t a good news day for many businesses that will be forced to remain closed, particularly for those in hospitality facing many more months of hardship. They require the full and proper support of Government if they and their employees are to come out the other side of this.

“Businesses will be reviewing the details closely over the next few days and of course await Thursday’s announcement of which tiers different areas will be entering from 3 December. They will also want to see evidence that Government has given due consideration to the economic impact of the decisions it’s taking, weighed against an ever-improving understanding of where the risk of infection really lies.

“We hope the slapdash approach to placing areas into tiers – highlighted by the abysmal handling of introducing Tier 3 restrictions in Nottinghamshire – won’t continue with the uniform strategy promised by the Prime Minister. We also hope that this time, there will be clear guidance on how areas can move in and out of the different tiers so there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

“As testing is expanded and a vaccination programme is rolled out over the coming months, it’s imperative we respond by loosening restrictions as quickly as possible, rather than waiting while the economy continues to unravel.

“It is essential Ministers understand that they can’t simply keep switching businesses on and off like a light switch without expecting severe consequences. Covid-secure businesses will be looking to the government for a plan that keeps them, and the economy, open throughout winter and beyond.”