Responding to the statement delivered by the First Minister to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon on COVID-19 restrictions, Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, George McKay said:
“The First Minister’s statement today will be largely welcomed by Inverclyde’s business community as we move towards the most significant lifting of restrictions on our economy since they were first imposed 17 months ago.
“The removal of physical distancing requirements and changes to self-isolation rules will have a major positive impact on all businesses. This will enable us to increase capacity, whilst removing the massive pressures on staff being forced to self-isolate due to close contact guidance which has left many businesses unable to fully operate if at all. These are both sensible, appropriate, and welcomed changes.
“Many businesses however believed that moving beyond the levels system would result in the removal of all restrictions, however, some uncertainty remains as to mandating the continued use of face coverings in certain settings.
“While ongoing restrictions will be subject to review, businesses need greater clarity now and will want to see clear end dates forthcoming to instil consumer confidence. Moving towards greater individual and business choice is vital and any measures remaining in place to mitigate and manage risk must be proportionate and appropriate.
“It’s vital that the vaccine and testing regime rollout continues at pace and that Scotland continues to make progress toward the complete lifting of all legal restrictions as soon as possible to enable businesses and the economy to start recovering.”
On the re-opening of offices, George said:
“Giving Inverclyde and Scottish businesses the green-light for the phased return to offices is the news many have been waiting for and will lay a firm foundation towards securing economic recovery for our hard-hit town and city centre businesses, many of which rely on office employee footfall for custom.
“Many businesses, even before the pandemic, were in discussions with employees over moves towards potential hybrid models of working and increased flexibility generally. Business models have already changed due to the pandemic and will continue to evolve further as restrictions lift and this will ultimately come down the needs of business and employees.”