Simon Barff understands the need for caution, but the current roadmap is too cautious he feels. For him, the supply chain needs help and it needs it quickly – because the reopening schedule is not going to bring much comfort to those businesses that are really hurting. And he’s also concerned that the pace for revisions to the roadmap may not be speedy enough if numbers and evidence back an earlier return to business.
Does the government’s roadmap provide you with a clear path for a return to business?
It’s no surprise that the Government wants to take a cautious approach but the roadmap appears to be far too cautious in my opinion, given the low ‘R’ rate following the impact of the lockdown and the excellent progress made with the vaccination program.
Undoubtedly, there will be another spike in cases as the schools open up again, as they are effective carriers and transmitters and we may then see the timescales for reopening our sector pushed back again in spite of the Government’s own evidence that there was no spike as a result of the Hospitality sector opening including the “Eat out to Help out” scheme.
Hopefully the adoption of mask wearing and rapid flow testing in schools will help to mitigate this outcome.
At CLMS we are adopting rapid flow testing in order to protect our staff (which can be purchased in smaller batches at reasonable prices from korawellbeing.com) so we are confident that we will be able to support our hospitality and gaming centre clients as they reopen their operations and welcome back their customers. Fingers crossed, the vaccination programme continues to provide us all with long-term protection from the virus and its various strains and mutations and we can resume a more normal way of life.
What’s missing from the roadmap for your business?
There are two clear things missing from the roadmap, firstly business support for those in the supply chain for those businesses not able to open until further down the road – and a mechanism for speeding up the direction of travel if the key metrics point to a reduction in cases.
I know from a vast number of our clients that they have business partners and partners within the supply chain who cannot survive until the roadmap enables us to restart the gaming side of the business. I understand that Rishi Sunak is due to announce how a tailored support package will look in next week’s budget but history tells us that this may be too targeted to provide the support required to ensure a sustainable supply chain for the restart and will leave many companies out in the cold.
Boris was keen to point out that this will be a roadmap based on evidence and the numbers – so if those numbers are positive – surely there needs to be a quicker way to get the economy kickstarted quicker and get those millions of employees associated with the hospitality and entertainment industries back earning and spending again.