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Gloucestershire Business News

Businesses 'desperate' for more detail on Covid unlocking plans

Businesses in Gloucestershire and the rest of England still don't have the full picture they desperately need to plan for unlocking after Covid restrictions.

Reacting to the Prime Minister's statement yesterday, Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "This is a much-needed step on the road to normality and we welcome the Prime Minister setting out the direction of travel in advance of reopening.

But she added: "Much remains in the balance. Firms do not yet know the future of self-isolation rules, if testing will remain free for them, or when international travel will open up effectively.

"Without clear guidance for businesses around the new proposals, there could be real uncertainty on how they should operate going forward and what they should be doing to keep staff and their customers safe.

"This could lead to a fractured, patchwork approach with very different positions being taken by many businesses, across many locations. That, in turn, could severely undermine the public's trust in reopening."

BCC research shows that almost two in five businesses are concerned about possible future lockdowns as a barrier to restarting or returning to pre-pandemic levels. This rises to 50% for business-to-consumer facing firms such as hospitality and retail.

Ian Mean, Gloucestershire director of Business West, said: "We welcome the Prime Minister's statement yesterday but we are still very concerned about the hospitality sector."

He said there remained confusion over the wearing of masks.

He added: "We believe that businesses should make their own decisions on returning to work. It should not be mandatory.

"We need more clarity in terms of detail which we hope we will get by July 12th."

Tony Danker, CBI director-general, also welcomed the reopening of the economy announced by the Prime Minister.

He said: "Critical now will be to build both customer and employee confidence in living with the virus. This will require businesses to continue putting safety at the heart of their approach as they have since the start of the Covid crisis and Government providing a vital role in supporting employers through guidance and advice.

"Knowing whether workplace testing will continue beyond July, gaining clarity on mask wearing for public transport and understanding how a role test and release scheme can support both domestic industry and our international travel sector can provide a further boost for firms as we all move from crisis to recovery."

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