Fife Chamber responds to announcement of indicative date for removing restrictions
Commenting on the First Minister’s announcement that, subject to there being no slip in the vaccination timetable, all major restrictions, including physical distancing, will be lifted on 9th August,
Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is the moment Fife’s businesses have been waiting for and they can finally breathe a sigh of relief that we are now on the path to the lifting all restrictions. We are firmly heading in the right direction, which will allow businesses to plan ahead, and we must now all do what we can to ensure the plan is implemented without the need for further delay, so that businesses can trade openly and enable the economy to recover and rebuild. However, as long as restrictions remain in place, it is essential that the Scottish and UK Government continue to provide focused and targeted financial support, as well as supporting businesses in the longer-term as they recover from this unprecedented period of economic disruption.
“Office-based businesses had been crying out for clarity on when they can get staff back. Now they have a clear timeline, they can plan in partnership with their employees how and when they will return to the office. Re-opening of offices will benefit employee morale and mental health and allow businesses to consult with staff on increased flexibility in the workplace to tackle inequalities, attract talent and retain skills in the economy. It will be a huge boost to businesses who need busy city centres to be sustainable. The removal of restrictions on business travel will also drive-up confidence and crucially bring business travel in line with leisure travel, making it easier for businesses to operate across Scotland.
“Scotland’s tourism and travel sector, which supports so many jobs and businesses in Fife, has been one of the hardest hits by the restrictions on international travel and it needs greater detail on when our borders will re-open and we can start welcoming international visitors again. We urge the UK, Scottish and other Governments to work together, in a four nations approach, to allow international travel to return safely and as quickly as possible. In the intervening period they should bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of the furlough scheme to support Scotland’s aviation and tourism sectors whilst restrictions on international travel remain.”