Small businesses urge Boris Johnson to end lockdown on time as they face shutting for good
PUBS head a plea by small businesses to save them from shutting for good.
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Pubs are urging Boris Johnson to end lockdown on time[/caption]
Small businesses face shutting for good unless they can open on December 3[/caption]
Toy shops said they should be classed as ‘essential retail’ or Christmas will be ruined for kids[/caption]
Their grim warnings of closure come amid fears that, even if lockdown is lifted on December 2, it will be replaced by business-busting restrictions.
After The Sun revealed plans to suspend bans on household mixing for five days over Christmas, Government medics even suggested each day of festive freedom will require another five days of lockdown.
But last night the traders were backed by the powerful Covid Recovery Group of 50 Tory MPs.
They insisted in a statement: “We cannot keep living under a cycle of lockdowns and restrictions.
“Freedom cannot just be for Christmas. We’ve also got to develop a much better strategy for living with this virus.”
Nearly three quarters of pubs fear limits could see them close for good. Just one in four can turn a profit in Tier 1 regions, while 94 per cent said Tier 3 restrictions could mean they never reopen.
A joint spokesman for UK Hospitality, British Institute of Innkeeping and British Beer and Pub Association said: “Much of our sector could be gone within a year.
“We recognise that local restrictions will need to be based on local risk levels, but we believe the tier system should be fine-tuned.
“That means relaxing the ban on more than one household in Tier 2 and extending the 10pm hard curfew cut-off point.”
Greg Mullholland, of the Campaign for Pubs, added: “Pubs can just about survive Tier 1 but any other levels are catastrophic. What publicans are demanding is the opportunity to open safely.
FAR GREATER RISK
“If not, people will just go and enjoy themselves in unregulated environments, in private homes or elsewhere, where the risk of spreading the virus is far greater.
“It’s vital that the industry is able to take advantage of the festive season. After all, a British Christmas without going to the pub with friends and family is hardly a British Christmas at all.”
Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin said ministers “must get rid of the catastrophic and ever-changing tiers, lockdowns and about turns”.
He added: “Unless they do, unemployment will rocket and we’re guaranteed a 1970s-style crisis.”
The beauty industry also called for clarity so that hairdressers, barbers and salons can open their doors ahead of any festivities.
Richard Lambert, of the National Hair and Beauty Federation, said: “With the amount of money salons and barbers have spent and the hoops they have jumped through to welcome back clients — these businesses must be given the chance to operate and recover.”
Rose Videtta, who has owned and run Hairlines hair salon in Bletchley, Bucks, for 30 years, told The Sun: “This is our busiest time of year. We have to open on December 3. They will kill us and other small businesses if we can’t.”
Shops joined the clamour for more clarity from the Government.
With the toy industry worth more than £3.2billion, toy stores said they should be classed as “essential retail” or Christmas will be ruined for kids and businesses alike.
BEARING THE BRUNT
Craig Beaumont, from the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Small firms have lost November but need to know soon what they can do through December.
“They need to have the necessary staff on hand, suppliers prepared and safety precautions in place to ensure they can take full advantage of the final few festive weeks.
“The past nine months have been incredibly difficult for so many, which is why we need to know a roadmap for the future as soon as possible.”
Last night the Confederation of British Industry called for an exit strategy to be published at least seven days before December 2.
Acting director-general Josh Hardie said it would help firms “hit the ground running” and try to “salvage the best from a bad year”.
Adam Marshall, of the British Chamber of Commerce, said: “Nine months into the pandemic, business communities are still crying out for timely information and a clear strategy from the Government so that they can survive and rebuild.”
According to a NatWest study, small firms are bearing the brunt of the latest Covid restrictions.
The bank found that activity contracted in October — the first time since June.
Service providers with fewer than 50 employees suffered the biggest impact.
Separate research showed smaller retailers are finding business much tougher than in 2008 when the last financial crisis started.
Nearly three quarters of pubs fear limits could see them close for good[/caption]
Data from the Centre for Economic Business Research and O2 found that retail sales collapsed by 24 per cent at the height of the first lockdown, compared with a 3.9 per cent slide in 2008.
The appeals for help came as latest figures showed another 529 people in the UK have died with Covid with 19,609 more infections in the last 24 hours.
But the tolls are dropping. Last Wednesday 22,950 new coronavirus cases were recorded along with 595 deaths.
The Wednesday before that 25,177 people tested positive.
It means the infection rate is 15 per cent down on last week and 22 per cent down on the week before.
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Despite the ray of light, Dr Susan Hopkins said: “For every day we release, we will need five days of tighter restrictions.
“So we need to be very careful about the number of contacts we have to reduce transmission before Christmas and get our cases as low as possible.”
In total, the UK has now recorded 1,430,341 positive test results and 53,274 deaths.
It comes after we revealed plans to suspend bans on household mixing for five days over Christmas[/caption]
Service providers with fewer than 50 employees suffered the biggest impact[/caption]
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