Policy Spotlight with Rhouda: Chambers call for support for impacted firms as PM introduces Plan B restrictions

Last week, the Prime Minister announced the introduction of Plan B restrictions and described the new rules as “proportionate and responsible” after the emergence of the new Omicron variant.

Under the new rules, people have been asked to work from home where possible. From Wednesday, people will need to use the NHS Covid Pass proving their vaccination status or a negative lateral flow test when entering venues such as nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people, outdoor unseated venues with more than 4,000 people and in any event with more than 10,000 people.

People who have come into contact with anyone who has tested positive will now have to test daily rather than self-isolate, even if they have Omicron.

The measures have been implemented at short notice and have come at a time that is critical for business trade for sectors in retail, hospitality, live events, and travel industries. Many businesses within these sectors are still recovering from previous lockdowns and will be among those most impacted by the introduction of Plan B restrictions.

Chambers across the network have urged the government to come forward with a plan offering financial support to businesses most impacted by plan B as well as offering clear and practical advice for businesses for all impacted businesses.

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce said: “We have written to the Chancellor today because we know from speaking to businesses up and down the country that the Treasury absolutely needs to act on this issue if we are to maintain the strength of our economic recovery. We have put forward a set of policy proposals which are practical, targeted, and commensurate to the level of impact these restrictions will have on businesses.”

Sara Williams, CEO of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce said: “With the rising numbers of Omicron Cases throughout the UK it’s important that the government take action to prevent another period of enforced closures and further devastating economic consequences. However, as plan B will affect several sectors more than others it is critical that the government makes additional grant funding available.
“Last night the Prime Minister announced that all adults in England will be offered a booster jab by the end of the year. It is essential that all businesses play their part in the fight against the new variant in order to prevent further restrictions during this critical trading period. The chambers are urging all businesses to allow staff to take time off to get their booster jabs and continue to ensure that all staff members are testing regularly.”

Brining back free tests kits for businesses would play a huge role in helping businesses maintain a safe working environment and contain the spread of the Omicron variant. We also urge the government to help businesses maintain a positive momentum by providing them with an action plan for current restrictions and for any further restrictions which may be implemented in the near future.

If you require any business support or advice, get in touch with Staffordshire Chambers of commerce on 01782 202222 or email info@staffordshirechambers.co.uk.

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