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“As we’ve seen numbers of infections increase in Liverpool, we understand that intervention is needed. It is especially frustrating because we’ve seen new reporting today on Liverpool’s resilience in the past two months and how our economy has been performing so strongly. Restrictions aren’t ideal for anyone, but the more we work together, the faster we’ll be able to focus on getting the city back to where it needs to be. There’s something to be said for each of us fulfilling our role. When we’re keeping ourselves safe, we’re keeping Liverpool safe.
“We need to strike the right balance between health and the economy and it is a devastating blow that Liverpool will be placed into a tighter lockdown. We need to learn to live with this pandemic in the long term.
“Shutting down our hospitality sector will hurt some of our smallest businesses and greatest independents that are the lifeblood of this city and we cannot do this without a robust and immediate framework of support from the Government for the hospitality and events industry.
“Liverpool Chamber continues to speak loudly for this city’s business community and will continue to champion the needs of those businesses affected by Covid robustly locally, regionally and nationally when they need us most.
“We together with Liverpool BID, Downtown In Business and Liverpool Hospitality Association have today sent an open letter directly to the Government calling for immediate action to avoid catastrophic consequences for the visitor economy.”
An Open Letter to National and Local Government on behalf of Liverpool’s Chamber of Commerce, BID Company, Hospitality Association and Downtown in Business
The business representative groups listed above are fully support the actions undertaken by Local Authority Leaders and Chief Executives in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds in highlighting to Government the potentially catastrophic impact of new and anticipated restrictions on Northern Cities and their economies.
The recent and anticipated extension of new restrictions introduced to our city threaten to have an immediate impact on our previously recovering visitor economy. We are aware of several businesses who will soon close and others desperately seeking ways of continuing to trade. Yet the impact could conceivably devastate the interconnected wider business ecosystem as already fragile trading conditions are exacerbated by the imposition of confusing and unenforceable restrictions on our population and businesses.
The vast majority of businesses have shown incredible resilience and worked tirelessly to make themselves COVID secure for those visiting and working in them.
However in bringing in these new restrictions, which are largely ineffective and impossible to enforce, the Government has also dealt a critical blow to bars, restaurants and hotels. The expected announcement of a ban on household mixing in any public space – and potential additional measures of societal restrictions – would leave our city in a virtually full lockdown situation leaving many unable to continue trading in the foreseeable future.
Against this backdrop the initial support provided in March was sufficient to help businesses survive. This portfolio of support services were a lifeline for businesses during the first wave of lockdown. Unfortunately in the immediate future, the suggested measures to replace the Job Retention Scheme and the Discretionary Grant programmes will be insufficient to enable the city’s visitor economy and hospitality businesses to trade through the impending period of local restrictions and cause considerable damage to our employment and business.
It is essential that any prolonged period of lockdown or extreme restrictions is compensated for with decisive and immediate action, to listen to the businesses and people on the ground and to engage properly with Local Authorities to provide targeted economic support.
The feedback from members of our respective associations demonstrate that without an appropriate level of intervention, there will not be a hospitality sector as we know it. The restrictions will force the closure of successful restaurants, bars and hotels as well as the huge number of businesses which make up the supply chain. Whilst this will decimate that particular sector it will spill over into the wider business eco-system and it is that message that Government need to reflect upon.
Through the innovative and positive way Liverpool managed the reopening of our city in July, instigated the Liverpool Without Walls initiative and boosted our city centre footfall to a comparable level to 2019, we have demonstrated our commitment to finding ways to live with Covid and it is important that our collective efforts are orientated around this psychological aspiration.
We encourage the UK government take heed of the representations made by the leaders of our biggest Northern conurbations and instigate an emergency package of support to enable our visitor economy to sustain itself through this economic shock and emerge in a position of relative strength in the post-COVID period.
Quite simply, for our visitor economy, it is now or never.
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