Catherine McGuinness: Firms look forward to opening doors once again


As many Square Mile residents give a cautious welcome to the relaxation of restrictions over Christmas, City businesses are looking forward to opening their doors again this week as London moves into Tier 2.  

We have all heard the news that an effective vaccine against coronavirus may be available soon, but, in reality, this winter will still be dominated by the virus which has cast a shadow across all our lives in 2020.

While we begin to look forward to the coming year, we must remember that our individual parts to play in fighting coronavirus are as important as ever. 

The continued challenge for all our residents, workers and businesses is to carry on acting responsibly by complying with the new rules in order to reduce transmission. Ultimately, this will mean we can beat this virus, save lives and protect the NHS.

It is only by following the rules that we will soon start to feel our lives returning to normal again and welcome friends and family into our homes and get back to the workplace.

We should all continue to help by following the three simple rules: hands, face and space. We all need to keep regularly washing our hands (hands), keep wearing a face covering (face) and keep our distance from people not in our household or support bubble (space).

And if we do get symptoms, which include a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, we must self-isolate immediately and get tested.

Booking a test is simple and can be done online via the NHS website, by calling 119 or using the NHS Covid-19 app. There are five testing sites based in the City of London and Hackney, including one at Guildhall Yard. 

If your test is positive, you will be advised to continue self-isolating for the full 10 days and members of your household or support bubble must isolate themselves for 14 days.

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You may also be told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or a City Corporation contact tracer, if you’ve been in contact with someone else who’s tested positive.  

We understand that this may be a challenge for some of you. If you cannot arrange for food, medication and other essential items to be delivered while you and your household self-isolate, please let the City Corporation know so that we can help. You can do this by emailing [email protected], or by calling 020 7606 3030. 

Please also consider getting a free flu vaccination if you are eligible for one as it will keep you safe against another dangerous virus this winter. From December 1st those aged 50-64 are also eligible for this vaccination.

Last month the furlough scheme was extended until March – a welcome support for people during these tough times. 

And we are pleased that sectors such as hospitality and retail can trade again, as, now, more than ever, we need them open to help pay for the vast amount of Government support being provided at this time.  

We also need people back in the workplace to help deliver a thriving economy so we will continue to urge the Government to keep the restrictions on people’s lives and business under close review.

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