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East Midlands Chamber News

Government must be clear on exit strategies for coronavirus tier restrictions, says Chamber after Tier 3 confirmed for three counties

The Government has confirmed Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire will be placed into Tier 3 restrictions from Wednesday 3 December following the end of national lockdown.

Responding to today’s (26 November) announcement, Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “This will be hugely frustrating and devastating for many businesses in our region that have been placed into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions, and comes as a further blow despite the relief of national lockdown coming to an end. It’s heaping uncertainty upon uncertainty, particularly for these sectors that have been hit hardest due to various restrictions since March this year.

“The festive period is hugely important to companies in sectors such as hospitality, which will be worst hit by restrictions forcing them to close other than for takeaways, and would usually help them build up cashflow during the quieter periods of January and February. Today’s tier allocation sends out the message Christmas is effectively cancelled for this segment of the economy.

“Even with the welcome news of a vaccine on the horizon, the country can’t afford to just sit and wait it out. Going forward, it is essential the Government reviews its tier structure frequently and doesn’t delay in easing restrictions as cases drop because every week that businesses are forced to close has a significant impact. This means it must also be prepared to offer additional targeted financial support where necessary.

“Westminster must be clear and timely in its communication on what the exit strategy is for these areas. Businesses have had enough of the purgatory stemming from the slapdash approach this has involved to date, and need to know well in advance when changes will take place so they can prepare for reopening. With Brexit drawing closer every day and a trade deal still some way off, firms are desperate for some certainty on how they will operate from 2 January.”