Four-week unlocking delay will be another challenge for Wakefield businesses

In another challenging development for business the government has delayed its plans for a full lifting of Covid restrictions by a month.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 1:42 pm
Outside at Harry's Bar

The cautious approach will allow more people to receive vaccines and is intended to hinder the spread of the Delta variant.

The announcement means that limits on numbers for sports events, pubs and cinemas will remain in place, nightclubs will stay closed and people will be encouraged to keep up social distancing and working from home.

It means businesses have another challenge to face and some are set to struggle.

Many see it as a cautious step that will help to avoid another full lockdown.

Louise Waters from Harry’s Bar said: “I expected it to be honest.

“It’s very much dammed if you do dammed if you don’t. Imagine if the Prime Minister says there will be new no restrictions and in six weeks’ time it’s like it was six months ago.

“I think for me it won’t make too much difference. While I’m keen to get Harry’s to its former self I’m also accepting of the fact it may take a little longer – I’d rather err on the side of caution.

“I always felt like what we have now would be more our new normal than get back the old normal.

“I do however feel for the clubs and late night venues and this that the restrictions are still hitting hard – it must be so frustrating.

Shaun Slater, landlord at the Black Rock, said: “I’m gutted to be honest. Expected it though.

“We were a little late closing the borders and a little premature taking holidays abroad.

“We should’ve got this country in a safe zone before allowing foreign holidays.

“But I’m very happy the vaccine is working and hospital cases are down. Fingers crossed for July.”

Oliver Dean, from Oliver Dean Hair and Beauty on Wood Street, said: “Trade is down because people are not able to go out which is a shame if people are unable to go out with no restrictions they are not getting the same experience of eating out, having a drink and holidays. I do believe further restrictions are good to help prevent further lockdowns which will be best for the long term.

“I definitely think the next 12 to 18 months are going to test our local and national economy because it’s not going to go back to business as normal for a long time.”

Dana Russell, who runs Queen’s Mill Tea Rooms in Castleford, said: “It’s been both heartening to have such loyal support from my customers and disheartening to keep clipping our wings mid flight so to speak.

“Just like everyone we are fed up now but do understand why we have delays once again.

“Safety has to come first. July 19 can’t come soon enough.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “sensible to wait a little longer” to try and meet the target of double vaccinating two thirds of adults, everyone over the age of 50, frontline health and care workers.

He insisted that the unlocking will take place next month. Latest daily government figures from Sunday showed another rise in Covid infections, with a further 7,490 lab-confirmed cases in the UK.

Rising infections in the UK are being driven by the Delta variant, first identified in India, which now accounts for 90 per cent of infections.

In England, there were a total of 35,971 positive Covid tests in the past seven days at a rate of 63.9 per 100,000 people.

However, the delay to the easing of restrictions has provoked a mixed response and some people believe it is excessive.