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COVID-19 and The Future of Local Businesses

As the relaxation of the lockdown rules seems to be at purview, we take a look at the businesses that are likely to open as lockdown measures loosen.

After almost two months of a nationwide shutdown and social distancing measures put in place in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the establishment of a new COVID Alert System which will help us understand where we stand in terms of the spread of the virus. He also encouraged people to take “more and even unlimited amounts” of outdoor exercise. 

The prime minister was met with criticism over the ambiguity of his announcement last night. People were encouraged to go back to work if they have no means of working at home. With that, he announced the future plans for relaxation. He also mentioned a phased reopening of shops and primary schools, and at later stages, hospitality services and other public places subject to scientific advice.

According to the information we have, we can assume that the businesses with the highest number of crowd interaction are likely to reopen last.

As announced, primary schools, playgrounds and smaller shops will likely reopen very soon.

While restaurants, pubs and cafes could follow suit with certain social distancing conditions. 

Sporting events, movie theatres and shopping centres will likely remain closed for the time being, as they are places where people gather en masse. 

Currently, in Brighton, only the essential services are operating. Councillor Nancy Platts, Leader of the City Council, also shared her views on the issue.

She said: “We will review the steps laid out by the government today and look at how we can follow the new advice. There was an ambiguity in the messaging that we need to have explained rapidly in the days ahead. We know restrictions will need to stay in place for a long time to come. We want the restrictions to be lifted carefully in a positive direction. Our priority is to keep people who live in the city safe.”

“The Prime Minister has said that hospitality and leisure businesses are not likely to open before July. The shops and attractions are still closed and we want people who do not live in Brighton & Hove to stay away,” she added.

If we look at the situation in Europe, it seems that the countries are progressing towards a free-flowing resumption of almost all services. Countries like Austria, Germany and Italy have reopened most of their businesses including shops, hairdressers, playgrounds, museums and churches, factories and even the German Bundesliga, all of them with certain limitations.

In the Czech Republic, shopping centres, larger shops, restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and museums are all open. Even cultural and sporting events with up to 100 people have been greenlit. 

With this in mind, the UK is still behind the other European countries. However, if the measures do relax slowly we can expect certain businesses to reopen in due time.

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