Business groups have voiced concerns about the impact of more stringent COVID control measures and called for the return of government support.
On 8 December, the Prime Minister announced a new set of restrictions designed to curb the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. The ‘Plan B’ measures include increased requirements for mask-wearing, more working from home and the use of vaccine passes, which will broadly bring England in line with restrictions across other UK nations.
Business leaders were quick to express their concerns and called for the reintroduction of support measures. Matthew Fell, Policy Director at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), described the move as “a big setback for businesses, particularly those in hospitality and retail who are in a critical trading period”. He also said the situation needs to be closely monitored and that the government must be “ready with targeted support as required.”
Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, President at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said, “Yet again, firms are now being asked to make changes at the very last minute. Many businesses have only just begun to get back on their feet and this move will inevitably damage business confidence. Firms need to know that the government will support them through this next period.”