Act now to avoid a disastrous pre-Christmas lockdown

We’re urging businesses to follow Covid-19 restrictions to the letter, to avoid a national lockdown being reimposed before Christmas.

The Prime Minister has unveiled new measures in response to a rise in infections, many of which will affect businesses.

Pubs, bars and restaurants can offer only table service and will have to close at 10pm. Shop staff are required to wear masks, as are customers indoors in hospitality businesses except when seated to eat or drink.

Employees are again being told to work from home if they can, the maximum number of people allowed to attend weddings is reduced to 15 and plans to reopen conference venues from October 1 have been dropped.

Chamber Chief Executive Rob Johnston said: “Closing at 10pm will hurt pubs and restaurants but, taken overall, we’re relieved that the package wasn’t more severe.

“There is no requirement for non-essential shops to close and there are no restrictions on domestic travel.

“It’s vitally important that businesses follow the new rules.

“The Prime Minister was clear that the Government will take more extreme steps if these measures don’t succeed in driving down the infection rate.

“It would be disastrous if they imposed a full lockdown during the pre-Christmas trading period, which is vital for many businesses.”

Rob pointed out that penalties for those businesses that fall foul of the rules are ramping up.

He added: “Hospitality businesses can be fined £4,000 for failing to enforce the rule of six and there’s a maximum fine of £10,000 for businesses that pressurise staff to come into work when they have been told to self-isolate.

“It’s important that businesses understand their obligations so they don’t, unwittingly, end up with a fine.”

Hospitality businesses and close-contact services such as hairdressers are required to display posters with QR codes to prepare for the roll out of the NHS Test and Trace app from September 24. Those that fail to comply face fines of up to £4,000.

Details of how to obtain a QR code and information on all the Covid restrictions are in our Restart Toolkit.

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce