Companies can now start to plan for the future, say business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire who welcomed the Government’s guidance on the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
In a news conference on Monday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wouldn’t pre-empt whether the final lifting of restrictions would take place on July 19, but set out what will happen when they are lifted.
The government will make a final decision on July 12 when it will be able to determine whether its four key tests – an effective vaccine programme, evidence the vaccines work, manageable infection rates and the low risk of variants – have been satisfied.
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Only then will the government ratify moving to the final stage of its plan to leave lockdown behind.
Should that happen, all businesses will be able to reopen and there will be no legal limits on attendances or capacities.
Social distancing rules would be dropped, face masks would become voluntary rather than mandatory and people would no longer be instructed to work from home.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said businesses across the region would welcome such steps were they to come into effect on July 19.
« It will come as relief to businesses that we are getting close to the stage where they can open up in full and plan for what the future may look like, » she said.
« It is going to be up to companies themselves to decide what measures to take and understand that, while legal restrictions are being lifted, there is still going to be uncertainty and apprehension as the public begins to get used to the new normal. »
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She added: « As we always do here in Coventry and Warwickshire, we will work collaboratively with our local authorities, public health teams and partner organisations to rebuild business and consumer confidence, with a strong focus on rebuilding our local economy.
« However, it’s also vital that the Government continues to support businesses as the economy reopens.
« Companies have been hit hard over the past 15 months and it is going to take time for them to begin to recover. »