Written by: Keith Tully
The government’s plan to introduce a tiered system of Covid-19 restrictions in England once the current lockdown ends in early December has come as welcome news for some business sectors but not all.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said that “many small firms across England will be breathing a sigh of relief” in the knowledge that they will probably be able to open in advance of Christmas.
However, operators in the hospitality sector remain concerned about their prospects with hotels, restaurants and pubs likely to bear the brunt of restrictions that remain in place over Christmas and beyond.
A statement given by the UK Hospitality trade body explained that a continuation of restrictions on households mixing represents bad news for most of its members.
“Rather than saving Christmas, these damaging measures will ruin it for hospitality businesses and their customers,” the organisation said in response to government announcements of plans for a tiered lockdown from December 3rd onwards.
For retailers, by contrast, the latest announcements represent good news and potentially an opportunity to boost sales and footfall in the run up to Christmas.
Helen Dickinson chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said in a statement: “The government’s decision to keep all of retail open will help to preserve jobs and the economy and help keep Christmas a festive occasion for everyone.”
As well as retailers being set to reopen in a few weeks from early December, gyms, personal care service providers, hairdressers and barbers across England are all now likely to get the green light to reopen once the current lockdown is lifted.
“Hairdressers and salons, who have worked hard to ensure they are Covid-safe will be pleased to be able to remain open and continue trading after what has been a tumultuous year for them,” noted Mike Cherry from the FSB in a statement.
“We know based on the evidence that these locations were not major transmission sites for the virus, so salons, barbers and hairdressers should be able to enjoy a strong December,” he added.
Mr Cherry went on to say he hopes to see the chancellor Rishi Sunak “reiterate his support for small firms across the board” when he delivers his latest Spending Review in the coming days.
“Not only is it vital to see help given to those who have seen trading fall through the floor, but also those who are yet to receive any support whatsoever,” he said.
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