02 February 2021
Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said:
“With health services under real pressure as we look to significantly reduce transmission, there’s little surprise that lockdown restrictions will continue for the foreseeable future. Proposals to initiate a phased return of schooling later this month are welcome and will help parents struggling to juggle work and childcare responsibilities.
“While businesses recognise the rationale for extending lockdown, there’s a growing need to start planning for the re-opening of the economy once it is safe to do so. Jobs, firms and livelihoods can all be saved by undertaking important preparations now.
“Business has supported the strategic framework approach to reopening the economy, seeing it as a transparent way to explain decision-making around restrictions. By building a route map now for exiting the current lockdown, we can minimise economic casualties in the coming weeks and months.”
The CBI has outlined six priorities to shape Scotland’s exit from lockdown:
- Confirming once more what will be considered low, medium or high-risk economic activity, so that businesses can understand what will open sooner or later.
- Revising the levels within the framework to reflect on the vaccination roll out and how that may impact gradual re-opening.
- Identifying and understanding the conditions that need to be met before rolling back certain restrictions, and ultimately the need for social distancing.
- Outlining how the vaccine will be deployed once the most vulnerable groups are inoculated, to reach the target of all adults being offered a vaccine by Autumn. We believe there are strong arguments for phase 2 of the roll-out being done in a way that maximises the safe re-opening of the economy, such as prioritising key enablers like schools, transport, and other key public services.
- Thinking how regular mass rapid testing in the community and workplaces could allow a wider, speedier reopening of the economy. It would set out what additional freedoms it might permit individuals and firms that commit to regular testing, as well as address the duration of asymptomatic testing so that workplaces and society are resilient to any new strains of the virus in the medium to long term.
- Creating bespoke, detailed plans for the harder to open sectors of the economy, such as testing regimes for international travel, or the conditions for activities such as hospitality and live events to return.
*This is not an attempt to set a specific date for re-opening the economy. Those decisions must rightly be driven by health data.