Shopping local ‘more important than ever’ town’s business leaders warn
- Credit: Archant
Business leaders have admitted that the latest lockdown restrictions are a “devastating blow” to firms locally and nationally.
After prime minister Boris Johnson had announced a month-long national lockdown last Saturday evening, Lowestoft Vision – the town’s business improvement district (BID) – which is managed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said that business and market confidence had been hit hard by the continuing coronavirus crisis.
Amie Mullen, BID Manager, said: “There’s no getting around the fact that these new restrictions will be a devastating blow to business communities across Lowestoft and east Suffolk and beyond who have done everything in their power to adapt and operate safely.
“Business and market confidence has been hit hard by the unclear, stop-start approach taken by the Government over the past eight months, with little end in sight.
“Many firms are in a much weaker position now than at the start of the pandemic, making it far more challenging to survive extended closures or demand restrictions.
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“The temporary extension of the furlough scheme will bring short-term relief to many firms.
“While there is no substitute for a functioning economy, the full financial support package for businesses facing hardship, whether through loss of demand or closure, must immediately be clarified and communicated.
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“Sustained help must be available to employers, to the self-employed and to the many businesses and individuals that have not been able to access any of the government’s schemes to date.
“The Government must not squander the time afforded to them through another lockdown to enable mass testing and fix Test and Trace systems.
Dan Poitras, chairman of Lowestoft Vision, said businesses he had been liaising with in the town were “worried” about the latest lockdown.
Mr Poitras said: “Obviously some of the businesses I have spoken with they are saying it is going to hurt them. That is why it is vitally important we shop local – it is better for everyone.
“Within the Britten Centre alone, we are looking at eight units and a couple of stalls being open throughout the lockdown, offering essential items for shoppers.
“And within the town centre we will still have businesses open – so now more than ever, we need people to shop local and to continue to remember your local businesses.”