Chambers respond to the postponement of lockdown easing

The further easing of coronavirus restrictions in England - due to come in this weekend - has been postponed for at least two weeks, amid concerns over an increase in coronavirus cases.

Casinos and bowling alleys will remain shut, with Boris Johnson saying it was time to "squeeze the brake pedal".   Face coverings will be mandatory in more indoor settings, such as cinemas and people attending places of worship will also be among those required to wear face coverings, in a change that will be applied from next weekend.

The government’s rethink came in following new restrictions for some people in parts of northern England following a spike in virus cases.

The prime minister said progress against coronavirus continues, with the daily and weekly number of deaths falling, but warned that some European countries are "struggling" to control it - the UK must be ready to react.

Mr Johnson said planned reopenings for 1 August would be delayed for at least a fortnight.  That means venues such as casinos, bowling alleys, and skating rinks must remain closed until 15 August.

Indoor performances will also not resume, pilots of larger gatherings in sports venues and conference centres will not take place, and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted.

Separately, face coverings will be compulsory in more indoor settings where people are likely to come into contact with people they do not know, such as museums and places of worship, from next weekend. They are already required in shops and indoor transport hubs.

The prime minister said the rules for face coverings would become enforceable in law from 8 August.

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement that the government will introduce new local restrictions and postpone the planned re-opening for some business from August 1st , Nova Fairbank, Head of Policy for Norfolk Chambers of Commerce said:

“Whilst tackling the public health emergency must be the priority, these announcements - made at short notice - will be a hammer blow to the Norfolk business and consumer confidence at a time when many firms were just starting to get back on their feet.

“The local business community needs as much clarity as possible from government if they are to plan ahead and rebuild their operations in the coming months. Ministers must also consider extending support to all firms, many of whom will be forced to close for an even more prolonged period, as well as targeted measures to help businesses placed under localised lockdowns.”

 

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