The government cannot continue its knee-jerk, inconsistent, and poorly planned response to lockdowns and Tier announcements if the economy has any chance of bouncing back in 2021.
That is the view of Downtown in Business chief executive Frank McKenna, following the decision today to keep Liverpool in Tier-2 and Manchester, Lancashire, Leeds, and Birmingham in Tier-3.
“It seems to me that the government are using data in a very ad-hoc way. If you look at the infection rates in Liverpool and Manchester, for example, it is hard to justify why Manchester should be facing stricter restrictions.
“More worryingly perhaps, is that the mood music from Westminster appears to be preparing us for even greater restrictions in the New Year. Surely, we should have been hearing by now about how a smarter way of managing the pandemic will be in place come January.
“Downtown in Business has just hosted a major business event for 250 people by introducing mandatory testing for all guests. Why can’t we introduce this to enable people to access bars, restaurants, and hotels?
“Given a vaccine is now in play, would it not be sensible to ‘shield’ those most vulnerable until they can be vaccinated, whilst allowing the majority of the country to return to their COVID secure workplaces and establishments?
“And why, given all the evidence around testing, are much more detailed conversations happening between Whitehall and Town Halls, to ensure that the vaccine is rolled out as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Mr. McKenna concluded:
“I know that the Chancellor has introduced financial support packages for individuals, but this latest announcement will kill many thousands of businesses across the country and result in thousands of job losses.
“It is not financial support packages that are needed now though. We need businesses to be able to trade again, to earn a living, to contribute not only to the much-needed economic recovery, but also to the health and wellbeing of their teams. The explosion of mental health and related issues is another pandemic in the making. We really do need to find a much smarter way of handling the COVID crisis next year – or the hangover from the Coronavirus will go on far longer than is necessary.”