Responding to the PM’s announcement of a Tier 4 restrictions in London and other parts of England, including the closure of ‘non-essential’ retail in those areas, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said:
“We recognise that the government has difficult decisions to make and the situation with the pandemic is very fast moving, but this is hugely regrettable news. Retailers have invested hundreds of millions of pounds making stores Covid-secure for customers and staff, and SAGE’s advice has said throughout that closing non-essential retail has a minimal impact on the spread of the virus.
“The consequences of this decision will be severe. For businesses, the government’s stop-start approach is deeply unhelpful – this decision comes only two weeks after the end of the last national lockdown and right in the middle of peak trading which so many are depending on to power their recovery. Faced with this news – and the prospect of losing £2bn per week in sales for the third time this year – many businesses will be in serious difficulty and many thousands of jobs could be at risk.
“The government will need to offer additional financial support to help these businesses get back on an even keel – an extension to business rates relief in 2021 is the best place to start.”