Doncaster Chamber calls on the government to provide clear guidance to businesses as they begin to navigate their way towards economic recovery against a backdrop of rising infection rates.

The Prime Minister has today confirmed that from next week, the country will move away from the restrictions of legally imposed measures and instead individuals will be asked to make their own informed decisions to manage the virus. This means that the wearing of masks in crowded and enclosed public spaces will be expected and recommended but not enforced.

Working from home requirements will cease, with a ‘gradual return to work’ expected.

The 1m plus rule on social distancing will come to an end, as will legal limits on the number of people who can gather indoors and outdoors.

Speaking about the Prime Minister’s announcement, Dan Fell, CEO Doncaster Chamber, said: “The decision to press ahead with fully reopening the economy will be welcomed by many in the business community. Businesses want to be able to do what they do best, which is trade in an open and competitive economy.

“This is not the end of the uncertainty however, and for some businesses, this development will cause as much consternation as it does relief.  The summer will present many challenges too as thousands of people will, almost certainly, be forced to self-isolate as infection rates rise causing significant disruption to numerous companies.

“Furthermore, it is not yet a given that the autumn and winter will be free from additional restrictions.  Government therefore needs to tell businesses now if that is a genuine risk and what the mitigation and support measures would be in such a scenario.

“Finally, the pandemic is far from the only challenge facing the Doncaster business community at present. The after effects of Brexit are still being felt and many firms – including those in sectors such as haulage and hospitality – are reporting acute skills shortages.  We are therefore calling on local and national government alike to keep listening to business, to keep supporting business, and to stay focused on making Doncaster and the UK great places to do business as we rebuild the economy.”

The impact of the past 16 months has been felt across all sectors of business and all areas of society, with the hospitality and leisure sector amongst those seeing their business operations severely limited.

Deborah Rees, Director of Doncaster’s Cast Theatre, said: “We are looking forward to finally being able to welcome audiences back to Cast! We have already reopened with a number of events and look forward to seeing audiences return as we become gradually step up our activities and events over the next few months.”