01 May 2021
In the UK, current social distancing guidelines mean only two-thirds (68%) of staff can physically work on premises & UK firms are operating at 81% of pre-pandemic capacity – CBI survey.
CBI Northern Ireland is calling on the UK Government and NI Executive to provide greater clarity on the future direction for social distancing guidelines as businesses emerge from lockdown.
If both the UK Government and NI Executive ‘show their hand sooner rather than later’ and agree a consistent four nation approach to easing social distancing, firms can plan ahead more easily and help spur Northern Ireland’s economic recovery.
Publishing the data and evidence-base for decision-making will be crucial to ensuring all firms have as safe and smooth a reopening process as possible.
Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland Director, said:
“The ongoing success of the vaccination roll-out has provided firm foundations for the safe and gradual reopening of the economy. Indicative timings have also proven invaluable in helping businesses to forward plan and develop contingencies with confidence.
“With workplaces operating well short of full capacity, the future of social distancing is a key piece of the recovery jigsaw and will affect all of our lives. That’s why it’s so important to start building consensus among businesses and the public now about the way forward.
“By asking both Governments to show their hands sooner rather than later, we can develop a consistent way forward for firms across the UK. By communicating early and clearly, both Governments can help businesses to plan, prepare and invest.”
On cooperation across the UK, Angela said:
“With the UK Government continuing to conduct its four reviews as part of its COVID roadmap, business is urging the Executive to work with counterparts across the UK, as well as the Republic of Ireland to develop a clear, cooperative approach.
“That will give Northern Ireland firms certainty, parity with competitors across the UK and help unlock vital investment.”