Comments from Dan Simms, David Fox and Ross Kirton
Dan Simms, Co-Head of Retail Agency: “I think it is a profoundly depressing, over cautious and unwelcome announcement for the retail and hospitality sector. We have a world leading vaccine programme that is now rapidly changing the situation, yet the Government seems to be unable to even attempt to balance health, societal and economic considerations and shows no real understanding of the scale of the emergency for the sector. The dates announced will be simply too late for many businesses that have been able to trade for only small periods over the last year and the Government support merely papers over a few cracks.”
David Fox, Co-Head of Retail Agency: “Whilst it is understandable that the Government remains cautious and reluctant to commit to re-opening the retail and hospitality sectors, without a continuation of support and clarity on business rates and the arrears moratorium, there will inevitably be further failures. It is incumbent for the Government to bridge the uncertainty of the immediate weeks, providing the time and hope that businesses need to prepare for a return to normal trading and benefit from the predicted consumer spending spree.”
Ross Kirton, Head of UK Leisure Agency: “We know that those in good physical health are likely to recover well from COVID-19 and whilst later than hoped, it is good news that there is a clear path for the reopening of the fitness sector, with part of their services being able to reopen during step two of the Prime Minister’s roadmap.
"As a nation we have embraced home workouts and our parks are busier than ever as we’re enjoying the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. The forthcoming reopening will bring additional benefits to local economies with the simultaneous reopening of non-essential retail and gyms creating additional footfall in local town centres.
“However it is bitterly disappointing that group exercise and pay per class studio gyms, which are extremely popular in London in particular, are unable to reopen until step three of the plan. These class-led businesses are able to control the flow of people into a studio through class bookings and provide COVID-secure facilities, with social distancing and additional cleaning routines so I am at a loss why their reopening has been deferred to step three.”