Commenting on today’s announcement on changes to Coronavirus measures, FSB Wales Policy Unit Chair Ben Francis stated:
"We hear and recognise the concern expressed by the First Minister today regarding the rise in cases of Coronavirus in Wales. However, it is good to hear a level of optimism in the announcement and helpful to get clarification on the way forward for ensuring an environment in which businesses can again trade profitably. With today’s announcement, there is a clearer picture and timetable for businesses which is something we have been requesting of the Government.
"Businesses running outdoor events and festivals will very much welcome the lifting of the cap in numbers from this Saturday, allowing them to plan for and benefit from activities into the summer. Similarly, the opportunity to have greater flexibility for indoor events is very welcome.
"We also welcome news that from 7th August, almost all businesses in Wales will be able to trade at capacity due to the easing of social distancing requirements. This will be reassuring for many businesses facing a number of pressures including starting to pay back debt, the reduction in support for the furlough scheme and the winding down of Welsh Government’s own Coronavirus business support. Whilst those businesses will have to maintain vigilance, the ability to safely increase the number of customers will give hope for the future of businesses and those they employ. It’s important that businesses use the period until 7th August and beyond to enter a dialogue with employees and undertake the risk assessments required to account for the change.
"It is important to note however, that some businesses, particularly those such as night clubs for example remain unable to trade until 7th August and so Welsh Government will need to continue to ensure that support is available for those businesses.
"We recognise Welsh Government’s decision to retain the mandate for people to wear face coverings in indoor settings. As this differs from guidance elsewhere, it is important that Welsh Government have a clear public messaging campaign to ensure that all individuals are aware of their responsibilities in order to minimise confusion and avoid any potential hostility towards business owners and their staff.
"With the Virus continuing to pose a significant threat to Wales, our communities and economy, appropriate and adapted guidance for managing the risk of the Virus whilst trading viably will be required by businesses. All businesses want to do what is required of them to keep their employees and customers safe and so clear messaging and guidance from Welsh Government is essential in coming weeks and months".