Wednesday 20 October 2021
Responding to the Health Secretary’s press conference announcing that COVID-19 cases could hit 100,000 a day this winter, Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said:
“The UK economy is still in recovery-mode following successive lockdowns and it is therefore deeply concerning that the Government has taken such a passive stance towards the rising rate of COVID-19 infections. If we are to learn the lessons of previous lockdowns it is that indecision is our greatest enemy in the fight against this disease, yet businesses still do not know the detail of the Government’s Plan B and therefore cannot make any form of preparations.
“UK businesses have enjoyed the ability to trade with freedom in recent months and it is therefore with huge reluctance that we call on the Government to introduce measured COVID-19 restrictions now. We are particularly concerned about the potential reintroduction of guidance to work from home, which would bring obvious economic consequence for some sectors and have a disproportionate impact on London-based businesses. As we approach winter it is clear that the current case rate is only going to get worse and decisive action therefore needs to be taken now to avoid more severe restrictions in the months ahead.
“Measured COVID-19 restrictions, such as vaccine passports in high-risk environments and mandatory use of face masks on transport and whilst moving around public indoor spaces, should be introduced now to avoid lockdowns this winter. Such measures have been introduced across Europe and are proving successful in helping to minimise transmission, whilst not drastically restricting business activity.
“We remain confident in businesses’ ability to adapt to reasonable restrictions but any indecision now, potentially leading to future lockdowns, will put businesses at risk of closure and threaten thousands of jobs. The Government must take action now to avoid devastation this winter.”