Following the announcement of indicative dates for the re-opening of a number of sectors, FSB has welcomed that clarity has now been provided, but called on the Executive to avoid the sudden halting of support for businesses.
Commenting, Head of FSB Northern Ireland, Roger Pollen said:
“After seeking clarity for a number of months on re-opening, we are glad that at last it has been provided. We note that some of these dates are indicative and it is incumbent on us all to continue to keep our guard up to create the right conditions so we can open up of as much of the economy as possible.
“It is regrettable that there has still not been transparency regarding how decisions have been made and what targets have to be achieved in order for easements to be permitted.
“While the dates for re-opening are important, the terms on which businesses re-open are also crucial. We are concerned about reports that pre-booking could be required for un-licensed hospitality; this simply doesn’t reflect how this industry operates.
“With non-essential retail, close-contact services and some elements of hospitality opening soon it is important that they are supported as they re-open.
“Just because the shutters have been lifted does not mean that a business will be in a healthy financial state. FSB has been calling for a ‘buffer zone’ between the re-opening date and the withdrawal of support, to help sustain businesses and consequently employment going forward.
“This buffer zone or tapering could mean the difference between survival or collapse for many businesses that have been closed for over a third of a year.”