Responding to news of the end of Plan B restrictions in England, Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said:

“News of the end of work from home guidance will be welcomed by business, particularly those based in city and town centres which rely on footfall from office workers. The removal of the requirement for vaccine passports will also be positive for our members in the events sector and night-time economy.

“With infection rates still high, many firms are experiencing significant staff absences and will be cautious about teams rushing back to the office when that could result in further absences.

“As we move forward, businesses will now want to know what the Government’s longer-term contingency plans are to support firms should a new variant create a fresh wave of serious infections and require restrictions.

“Confusion and loss of confidence was experienced at the onset of Plan B when no accompanying support was announced. Although a financial package was subsequently provided by the Treasury, being clear on what support will accompany which restrictions ahead of time is the best way to maintain business confidence.

“Maintenance of testing capacity must also be a priority for Government, with reports still reaching us of firms unable to access rapid testing at times when they need it. This supply must remain consistent to maintain consumer confidence and avoid unnecessary absences.

“As we move out of restrictions, Government must make positive interventions to power forward our economic recovery, by making strides on key issues such as growing our export base and levelling up local economies.”

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