BUSINESS leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say the hospitality sector in the region will ‘bear the brunt’ of the latest Coronavirus restrictions.
Both Coventry and Warwickshire have been placed in Tier 3 restrictions which means non-essential retail can reopen but venues such as pubs, restaurants, hotels and other leisure and events venues will be closed.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said it was another bitter blow for the sector in the region.
She said: “We have said from day one that safety must come first and businesses across the region worked incredibly hard at the end of the first lockdown to make themselves Covid secure.
“We were hopeful that the city and the county would be placed into Tier 2 at the end of this lockdown to give our hospitality and events businesses a chance to operate at this crucial time of year for them.
“Once again, they will bear the brunt of the latest restrictions.”
She added other businesses would also be affected and it would mean people continuing to work from home where they could.
“We do, at least, have clarity around the likes of construction and manufacturing which can continue to operate.
“Businesses are going to need support from Government to get through this period but, as we’ve said for some time, there has to be a plan to get the economy open again.
“A viable vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel but businesses can’t be on hold until that time.
“We have to use wider testing and a greater evidence-based approach to allow more of our businesses to open up.”
Coventry BID Director Trish Willetts said: “We’re incredibly disappointed in the Government’s announcement to place Coventry in Tier 3, once lockdown 2 formally ends next week.
“Whilst we may question their decision, we must all continue to obey the rules of that Tier in order that we can return to normality as soon as possible.
“Our hearts do go out to our Coventry businesses, many of whom had been excitedly preparing for Christmas trading.
“We, at Coventry BID, would like to remind all business operators in the city of Coventry that we are here, we are open, and we are ready to help you get through these difficult coming weeks.
“Together, we’ll get through this.”
The regional chair of the West Midlands Federation of Small Business Chair Rich Bishop said: “We are extremely disappointed that Coventry and Warwickshire will face the highest restrictions for at least two weeks.
“In the run up to Christmas this is devastating for our many pubs, hotels, restaurants and other related industries that will be hard hit by these measures, when they would ordinarily be at their busiest.
“The owners and staff of these businesses have gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic to protect customers, spending huge sums of money to make their venues Covid-secure, only to now face this news.
“They will of course comply with the restrictions but today’s news will be heart-breaking for them.
“We can only hope that the review in two weeks’ time will see enough progress to allow for a move down the tier system.
We are of course pleased that despite Coventry and Warwickshire being in Tier 3 that our independent shops, gyms and personal care businesses can resume trade from Wednesday.
“I encourage everyone to do all they can to support these amazing firms as much as they can over the coming weeks to help these businesses get through these extremely challenging time.”
The restrictions will be reviewed every two weeks to ascertain whether key measures, such as the Covid-19 case rate, have fallen far enough to allow restrictions to be downgraded to tier two restrictions.
What exactly do the Tier 2 restrictions mean?
- Non-essential retail, personal services such as hairdressers and beauticians and gyms will be able to reopen.
- Hospitality and indoor entertainment businesses will be required to close – with the exception of takeaway, delivery and drive through services.
- Accommodation businesses may only remain open for very limited circumstances such as guests staying for work purposes or where they are unable to return home.
- Group exercise and sports indoors should only take place within household or support bubble groups.
- Large events are only permitted on a ‘drive-in’ basis.
- Households (or support bubbles) are barred from mixing indoors and groups of up to six may only meet outdoors in certain public settings, such as parks or public gardens.