Over two thirds of respondents to a Chamber of Commerce survey want to see all Covid testing and restrictions removed.
More than 52% of customer-facing businesses that took part in the survey say they have had to close, or reduce hours, due to the latest Covid situation causing staff shortages. Other businesses in the local economy are also being affected by significant drops in customer footfall.
A press release from the Chamber said that the combined impact of those factors is ‘so severe that over 67% of businesses that responded (141 out of 208) now want to see Covid restrictions lifted’.
The survey was carried out to see how customer-facing businesses are coping, and to assess the impact of the Economic Recovery Group (ERG) decision to extend financial support via the Winter Disruption Scheme.
Chamber said that it carries out regular polls to gather feedback from across the business community, but this one ‘prompted the biggest ever response to a survey of customer-facing companies’. Covering 10 different sectors, the results revealed the current level of negative impact of Covid restrictions, and the strength of feeling among businesses across the sector.
Chamber CEO Rebecca George said: ‘The survey provided some really important and interesting feedback which was fed directly to the ERG for consideration. This work has gone a long way towards assisting government’s decision to widen the sectors that are eligible for funding. A new isolation payment has also been launched to provide more financial support to people.
‘Customer-facing businesses have started to question whether the rules regarding LFT reporting can be relaxed a little to help business owners and their customers. We are delighted that so many took the time to share data from over 180 micro-businesses – this meant we could share that data with ERG the same day, and we know they took it into account when reviewing the Winter Disruption Scheme.
‘Chamber will continue to make sure that the concerns of small businesses are addressed, including ongoing activity via our Local Economy Forum.’
You can see the full survey results by clicking here.