Finally ending Covid-19 restrictions in the UK will be a new dawn for business
Last week the Prime Minister outlined the Government’s long-awaited plans to ease social and economic COVID-19 restrictions in England.
July 19 is the expected date, with a final decision to be taken today.
If the PM goes ahead, this would be a new dawn and the first step towards returning the Square Mile to the vibrant and thriving ecosystem that has always defined it.
For the many City businesses desperate to return to something like normality, the end of restrictions is very encouraging news.
Businesses here will be particularly pleased to receive clarity on the timeline for a return to workplaces so they can get back on track and make up for months of lost trading.
The Square Mile’s economy, like the rest of the UK, has suffered during the last year due to work from home restrictions and significantly reducing footfall.
And it is not only trading which has suffered.
Employers and many staff that we speak to are very keen to return to the workplace to see colleagues and clients, as well as to boost collaboration and innovation.
Whilst footfall might continue to be below where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, anybody who walks around the Square Mile will have noticed the difference, with the streets busier than they have been for months. We now look forward to welcoming the safe return of more City workers, who will help restore the buzz to our streets.
Because clearly, we need a strong economy to help pay for the vast amount of support provided since the beginning of the pandemic and which some businesses will still require.
The City of London Corporation is supporting firms through a variety of measures which include the decision to extend the deadline for submissions to our COVID Business Recovery Fund to 30 July and expanded eligibility.
We are offering up to £50 million in support for SMEs which contribute to the Square Mile’s vibrancy at street level and which directly provide services to returning City workers, visitors and residents.
This fund will play a vital role in supporting the City’s economic recovery whilst also ensuring that businesses continue to follow COVID secure arrangements.
People across the City have shown incredible resilience in following the guidelines, but hope is on the horizon and soon conditions will allow us to return to some normality.
Naturally, as more people return to workplaces, it is even more important everyone gets tested twice a week so we can quickly identify new cases and help people to self-isolate.
The vaccination programme continues to roll out at a great pace in the Square Mile, with thousands of those living in the City having already been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Nationally, our vaccination programme is making exceptional progress, with half of adults in the UK now having received both doses.
We continue to urge all Londoners to continue to follow the guidance to protect the NHS and save lives, by reducing the transmission of COVID.
And resilience is certainly not lacking in the Square Mile.
As we have shown over the centuries, we are nothing if not resilient. As the Three Lions demonstrated, if we pull together with intelligence and belief we can build back even better.