Clear plan out of tier three will boost compliance now, says Sheffield business leader

Having been in insurance for more than 35 years, I am very conscious of the precise meaning of words and punctuation, which, as any lawyer will confirm, is key to meeting policyholder expectations.

Sheffield's streets are quiet this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, but Graham Moore argues we need a road map back to normality

So I spend time looking at the tier-three restrictions to get an understanding as to what it means for us.

A couple of items provoke me to comment…

What is the case for being under this most severest of restrictions and what precisely is the measure by which we can progress to a reduction in them?

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Graham Moore, Westfield Health honorary life president

Both are key, because compliance will be better served by us feeling such a measure is fair and proportionate and secondly that we know how we can come out of it as soon as practicable.

With lives and livelihoods at stake, both questions are legitimate, particularly to the hospitality sector and those in their supply chain, as well as other hard-pressed sectors.

The answers are clear.

The restrictions themselves need to be publicised in clear terms, the test being that they would not require further explanation.

In addition to the above, we have to tune into the on-the-ground consequences of this new level of restrictions.

There has to be recognition that failure to give hope of a future recovery, better than threats of nonconformity, will compromise willingness to comply with yet more restrictions.

The implication we can have more freedoms if we comply over Christmas is not enough.

We have to be decisive over a road map out of these restrictions and detail how we will access test-and-trace and how the roll-out of vaccines will proceed, when, and in what priority order.

The period up to and during Christmas will be a watershed stage in us looking forward to a more safer 2021 and a progressive return to a degree of normality.

We cannot overemphasise that the regular changes in the levels of restrictions, the often complicated and late communication of them have been highly disruptive to businesses and ourselves affected as individuals.

The reality is, of course, in all this there is no substitute for local intelligence , communication and importantly accountability.

The devolution of local control needs to be accelerated.

Of course, national government must control strategy, standards and resources, but crucially it should be tactically delivered at city level.

In reality it does not matter what restrictions are called and what PR messages communicate them.

What matters is we accept personally the discipline to social distance, hand hygiene and wear masks as advised in whatever setting we are in .

If we do that and demonstrate compliance between now and over Christmas we can look forward to a return to normality at hopefully the earliest possible time in 2021.

The biggest incentive is, of course, for us to keep our discipline, is to visualise how good it would be to meet all our friends, family and colleagues and return to normal life.