We published a blog last week on the fact that businesses in Northern Ireland, in hospitality and retail, were concerned that there was still no set date to work to for re-opening after lockdown for them. And this is still the case as we write this article, even though there was a further relaxation of lockdown restrictions last Tuesday.
Businesses Becoming Increasingly Tetchy
Local business leaders are becoming increasingly tetchy over this critical issue for them, as many struggle to carry on as going concerns whilst the lockdown is in place.
In this weeks Newsletter Simon Hamilton of the Belfast Chamber is quoted as saying:
“[Tuesday’s] announcement by the Executive was utterly devoid of hope for businesses. Sadly, the Executive have, once again, missed an opportunity to offer businesses in Belfast and right across our region even indicative dates for reopening and allow them time to properly prepare for reopening.
“Many are aghast that whilst our infection and hospitalisation rates compare favourably to Great Britain’s and our vaccination rollout programme is every bit as impressive, we are, seemingly, on the slowest of slow tracks to the reopening of our economy.”
Criticism Of The Executive For Not Working Together With Businesses
And in the same article restauranteur Michael Deane was quoted as being highly critical of the Executive for not working together with businesses to plan a way forward for opening as soon as possible, saying:
“We are walking the plank blindfolded,”
“I don’t think they care about hospitality, and that is the way we feel deep down in our hearts.
“I know that my business is safe for people to come in to. We have all the social distancing, all the table plans, all the sanitisation. We have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds to makes Deane’s a safe place to go, and we have been ignored.”
A Definitive Date To Work Towards Is Critical To Lift The Gloom
We certainly understand the business community`s fears over what the future may hold if there is not some definitive date to work towards for them. They need to feel there is some glimmer of hope amidst the gloom and a feeling that there will be a return to full time trading conditions in the not too distant future. We await more news from the powers-that-be and hope that it is forthcoming very soon and it is positive news for the hospitality and retail industry.