Written by: Keith Tully
There are growing fears for what being entered into Tier 3 Covid restrictions might soon mean for businesses in the various regions being affected.
Greater Manchester is set to join the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire in Tier 3, the highest level of local lockdown, in the coming days as the UK government attempts to restrict the spread of coronavirus.
Financial support is being provided to local authorities and to companies in the impacted areas but there are concerns that there will be widespread job losses and a significant number of employers forced out of business in the coming weeks.
Only pubs and bars that serve substantial meals are being allowed to remain open once Tier 3 restrictions come into effect, which could soon see many hospitality venues closing their doors for good.
Meanwhile, soft play centres, casinos and betting shops will also not be able to operate in the context of the strictest lockdown measures, which for them could lead to a fight for survival and job cuts in the coming months.
Even for those businesses that are able to remain open, such as restaurants, there are worries that consumer demand will be well down on normal levels as the pandemic goes on and people are generally fearful of catching and spreading coronavirus.
There have been some disputes recently between regional leaders and the central government over just how much public money should be allocated to protect incomes, jobs and businesses in areas facing new restrictions.
The issue is particularly contentious in part because the government’s initial Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which covered the costs of millions of furloughed workers’ wages earlier in the year, is scheduled to close at the end of October.
Damian Waters, the North West of England director for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has said “there is no escaping” the impact of new restrictions affecting various regions.
“Firms in hard-hit sectors like hospitality, leisure and tourism – and their supply chains – have seen only a limited recovery from the earlier lockdown, and fresh obstacles could prove fatal for some,” he said.
Matthew Fell, the CBI’s chief UK policy officer, added: “Any restrictions which mandate business closures, whether local or national, must be joined in lockstep by financial measures which protect livelihoods during what is certain to be a difficult winter.”
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