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But as the year unfolded and the pandemic spilled into 2021, frustrations have mounted and calls for additional support, clear roadmaps and the provision of key evidence and data have flooded in.
Liam Jones, founder of Foursquare Group, echoes the exasperation with the government and its ever-changing guidelines, tiers and restrictions. Not because they’re unnecessary, but for the way they’re communicated and implemented, often leaving the hospitality industry with fresh produce and stock that can no longer be used, as well as business owners without time to plan and strategize in order to survive the pandemic.
He said: “Mass roll-out of the vaccine can put an end to the cycle of repeated lockdowns and eventually all restrictions. Whilst nearly 10% of the UK population has received at least one Covid19 vaccination – a huge achievement – the target for 15 million people to be inoculated by 15th February remains to be seen.
“It will take some time before enough of the population is vaccinated to sufficiently reduce the risk of infection, but in the meantime, the government has a unique opportunity to address its main area of failure in the pandemic – horrendous communication.
“Throughout the pandemic the government has failed at every opportunity to share necessary information with the business community. Necessary information which would have allowed many businesses to survive; business is about planning, never more so than in a crisis and business hasn’t been given the information to plan properly.”
Publishing a pro-active economy reopening plan could be the way forward, says Liam.
“Government should publish a roadmap of its target dates for achieving a specified number of vaccinations. These vaccination milestones should be directly linked to the reopening of each part of the economy. This will mean that businesses can begin to monitor the progress themselves and make educated decisions about their own future. Time and time again, businesses have been told they can reopen at the 11th hour, or even worse, that they have to close, and it simply is not good enough and at this point, it will cause many more businesses to go under in the meantime.
“There are thousands of businesses across the UK making key decisions now – not in a month, or two months or three months – now. They’ve been patient, invested in additional safety equipment, systems and PPE, and they deserve better communication from their government. It’s really not too much to ask.”
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