Government’s blanket recommendation to work from home into Q1 2021 risks stalling the capital’s recovery and damaging long-term competitiveness.
That’s the view of City of London Corporation Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness as the authority responded to the news that London will be placed into Tier 2 of lockdown once nationwide restrictions are lifted.
A full list of restrictions can be found at the end of this article.
Ms McGuinness said: “Many businesses across London and the Square Mile will be breathing a collective sigh of relief now that they will be able to trade in the run up to Christmas as a result of this decision.
“That said, as we look to the new year, firms in the City urgently need clarity on when office workers can return to Covid-secure workplaces.
“This is vital in order to get as much of the economy operating as possible and protect livelihoods. We also need a thriving economy to help pay for the vast amount of support being provided at this time.
“Employers have dedicated considerable resources to deliver Covid-secure workplaces and to restore confidence among their staff. A blanket recommendation to work from home into the Spring risks stalling the capital’s recovery and damaging long-term competitiveness.
“With reports of a coming vaccine it seems there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, but in the meantime we urge Londoners to continue to act responsibly by complying with the new rules in order to reduce transmission, save lives and protect the NHS.”
Elsewhere, representatives of London’s business community have also had their say.
Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “We are approaching a special time of year for the capital, and I hope that we can all safely balance the rules of Tier 2, enjoy the city, whilst boosting its economy.
“It’s obviously better to be able to trade than not, but Tier 2 still means a challenging operating environment for many in the hospitality sector.
“Scrapping the 10pm curfew helps, but no household mixing indoors will inevitably mean many businesses continue to rely on government support through this period. I’m pleased there will be a 16 December review date, which hopefully shows that we continue to move in the right direction and supports a further easing of restrictions.
“Transport for London are working hard to demonstrate the cleanliness standards of their stock. I hope to see this complemented over the coming weeks by visible enforcement of facemask compliance on the network.
“It can’t be stated enough how key this is to rebuilding public confidence and it’s particularly important to safely boosting central London footfall and business recovery.
“Consumer confidence, and indeed the nation’s chances of managing the R rate until a vaccine is ready, also hinges on Test and Trace. We need the world class system that we were promised, where is it? The Prime Minister’s strategy cannot simply be to wait for the vaccine ‘cavalry’ to arrive.”
Rowena Howie, FSB London Policy Chair, said: “These have been trying and difficult times for so many, and with the festive season upon us it’s never been more important to see trading resume once again.
“Many small businesses in London will be issuing a sigh of relief that they can operate in tier two in what is the busiest month of the year for many.
“However, many challenges are still prevalent for those in the hospitality and tourism related sectors and we must encourage people to support them in their time of need, and, the Government should provide a strong, proportionate level of support.”
Tier 2: High Alert restrictions in full:
- You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
- You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’.
- Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.
- Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.
- Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to; Provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol; Close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt); Stop taking orders after 10pm.
- Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
- Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.
- Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
- Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
- Places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies.
- Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.
- Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue.
- Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing.
- You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
- If you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey.
- For international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list.