"Without intervention and an effecting vaccination programme people will feel unsafe for years," warns Sheffield Business Response Group

People will feel unsafe for years to come if they don't have an effective vaccination and protection from coronavirus in shops, restaurants and on public transport, warns a council report.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 4:45 pm

The pandemic has undermined consumer confidence and even as the economy reopens, demand remains low, says Sheffield Business Response Group (SBRG).

The group, made up of Sheffield Council and the private sector, says stimulating demand, giving consumers confidence and identifying new opportunities will be essential to keep businesses trading and jobs safe.

Its report says: "To enable people to re-engage with the city, staff and consumers need to feel safe. This relies on our businesses and infrastructure operating in a Covid-safe way.

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939 are having an affair in central Sheffield in 2020, compared to 844 last year.

"Ongoing support is required to enable businesses and transport to put appropriate measures into place.

"Without intervention and in the absence of an effective vaccination programme, people will continue to feel unsafe for years."

The group says the pandemic accelerated the decline of the high street and emphasised a skills shortage. It has created an action plan to help the economy recover.

"Covid has presented the city with new challenges but in some cases the pandemic has highlighted and even accelerated pre-existing trends.

"Increased automation was already posing challenges in terms of adapting workforce skills to changing employment demands but Covid has brought about an acceleration of digital transformation and contactfree services, remote working and distance learning.

"The impact on the high street as a result of declining retail expenditure in physical shops and stores was already leading to questions about the future role for both city centres and districts centres.

"This action plan needs to take account of work that was already happening to try and address these issues. The nature of these trends means they require a long-term approach and will not be solved by this short-term action plan alone."

The SBRG has also set out a recovery plan after what it describes as a “very challenging six months.”

A report says: "Those in sectors most reliant on social interaction, such as retail, hospitality and culture, have faced dramatic reductions in demand, with many closing temporarily or operating at significantly reduced levels.

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