‘Support must continue’ says mayor as South Yorkshire businesses face another four weeks with restrictions
South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis has said Government support must continue for businesses heavily affected by the extension of coronavirus restrictions.
An end to restrictions was due to come on June 21 but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now pushed this back to July 19 due to rising rates of the Delta variant first found in India.
The delay in the ending restrictions was based on not meeting the Government’s own ‘four tests’.
These are: The rate of the vaccine deployment programme; evidence of vaccines sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated; infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations and assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.
Quarterly rent on commercial properties is due on June 23 and from July 1 businesses will no longer be protected from eviction. From July, the government contribution to the furlough scheme is to be reduced to 70 per cent.
Mayor Jarvis said the rise of infection rates was ‘worrying’ and the need for a cautious approach is ‘understood’ in order to get more people vaccinated.
But he added the crisis was ‘not just a health one’ but an economic also and that any delay
But this crisis is not just a health crisis, it’s an economic one, and any delay to lifting restrictions ‘must be accompanied by the right support’.
“The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but it’s been particularly tough for businesses and people on furlough who have been living with uncertainty for months,” Mayor Jarvis said.
“It’s been a horrendous year for hospitality and for the music and entertainment industry, many of our venues in South Yorkshire have not been able to open for well over a year.
“Vast amounts of preparation will already have gone into getting ready to reopen on June 21. Many will have sold tickets, bought stock and hired staff in preparation.
“If restrictions remain, then support must remain too. That means no drop in furlough payments, no change to business rates relief and no lifting of the safeguards preventing evictions.”