Latest news from Bira

06 Jul 2021

Bira calls for more support for indie retailers forced to close if staff have to self-isolate

Bira is calling on the Government to provide more support for indie businesses forced to close if staff have to self-isolate.

Following the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday about the opening up of England on July 19, and the end of most Covid restrictions, Bira is calling for consideration for indie businesses.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira's CEO, said: "As a sector we are looking forward to restrictions being lifted, which will hopefully result in more people visiting the high streets throughout the UK.
 
However, there is some nervousness as we have become use to high number of cases resulting in lockdown, and whilst we accept that we have to live with this virus, it will take time to readjust the approach and the thinking.
 
"As cases rise, we are seeing more people forced into self-isolation for 10 days and unable to work. This situation may force the business to close, through no fault of the business owner."
 
Bira is calling for the for the following measures:

  1. Review the track and trace system and the need to self-isolate; even if those who've had two vaccinations may not be required to self-isolate – this still means that younger people will need to do so. Many retail staff will be in the yet-to-be-vaccinated age bracket
  2. Instruct local authorities to use money from the Restart Grants to support the businesses forced to close. New data shows local authorities have almost £1bn of Restart Grants to distribute. If this is truly excess money, it still needs using in a productive way to ensure the high street recovery continues
  3. If Restart Grants cannot be used, there need to be new funds made available for hard-hit business owners to claim; ten days closure with no income, will be hard to many fragile businesses to sustain.

Andrew added: "As we learn to live with the virus and we ask people to take responsibility, we must not forget the support needed to business that are currently being responsible by self-isolating and closing down if required to do so.

"I hope the Government will accept that one ‘final push’ is needed to protect the livelihoods of hard working independent retailers and businesses on the high street in general."