We asked local business leaders for their views on the government’s planned route out of the Covid lockdown. Here’s what they had to say…
Jason Adams, managing director, Rockliffe Hall Hotel
I have to say a little disappointed but not unexpected. The great thing we do have is a date and we can plan now, and our team who have been stuck at home can now think about coming back to work to be around their friends, colleagues members and guests and deliver that world class service and hospitality we have so been used to delivering.
Head down to prepare the most amazing experiences that Rockliffe Hall have ever offered!
Jo Davies, managing director, HR Alchemy
I am really pleased that we now have a clear route out of lockdown. Just having something to look forward to gives you a real boost. While there is no quick fix here, we can seen green shoots finally appearing, which is really positive for business confidence.
Our business also looks after many schools locally and, if I could have one wish, it would be a plan to vaccinate teachers and those working in education as a priority before the children return on March 8. It baffles me that this has not been included.
Bob Cuffe, non-executive director, Resolution Media and Publishing
I thought the plan was clearly guided by Messrs Whitty and Valance. It was logical and considered. The five-week steps make sense, though I’d like business to get as much notice as possible – one week isn’t enough.
I’d be surprised if we were in large event mode by the end of June – the end-date feels optimistic. The absolute bottom line is that this has to be the last national lockdown – Lockdown 3 has been brutal and everyone has been impacted. I hope Track and Trace is fit for purpose to help ensure this. Thank goodness for the vaccination programme and our superb NHS.
Geoff Hogg, chief executive, Chaloner Group
It’s essential for all businesses, the economy and our society that this is the last lockdown. Too much of our business and personal lives have been paused and we need to emerge soon into what will be the new normal.
I believe it will also provide a stimulus and start the momentum the economy needs, through increased investment and job creation. The roadmap appears to be sensible and it is down to us all to help get to the end point we all want where we can conduct business and our lives in person and not through a computer screen.
Jay Byers, managing director, Steel River Gin
So, we have a road map…of sorts. It’s taken a long time for such clarity. What is clear to me from the government’s past handling of this crisis is that it can and probably will change track and use “data” as an excuse for further, longer restrictions.
These restrictions have added untold misery for so many people struggling financially and mentally and continue to pile on more debt to local businesses.
The frustrating aspects are a continued mentality that the hospitality sector is a breeding ground for this pandemic. With this road map we have most bars and restaurants opening later than shops. It just makes no sense, as any trip to supermarkets lately shows that you are as close to people in there under a roof as you would be in most bars and restaurants.