Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Firms begin to reopen, but one in ten cannot implement government guidance safely


The majority of UK firms are in a position to partially restart operations as lockdown restrictions are eased, but one in ten said they would not be ready to implement guidance and restart operations, mainly citing social distancing as difficult.

Those are among the findings in the latest Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker from the British Chambers of Commerce.

The majority of respondents (83 percent) reported high levels of awareness of the government’s new workplace guidance as sectors of the economy begin to reopen gradually.

Just over a third (37 percent) of respondents said that they could fully restart operations by implementing the government guidance, while 45 percent said they could do so partially.

However, the survey suggests that due to social distancing guidelines it is likely that many firms will see a reduction in demand and will not be able to restart at full capacity.

The eighth tranche of polling was conducted from 13 to 15 May and received 609 responses.

The survey also found that:

  • Eighty-three percent of respondents report that they know some or a lot of details about government guidance on working safely
  • Thirty-seven percent of firms report they can implement the guidance and fully restart, and 45 per cent report they can partially restart
  • Eighty-five percent of respondents have received payment from furlough scheme

Commenting on the results, BCC director general Dr Adam Marshall said: “While businesses have welcomed the publication of official guidance on how they can reopen premises and restart operations, some sectors still require greater clarity from the government on when and how they will be allowed to do so.

"This is particularly the case for hospitality and leisure companies, which will not reopen before July at the earliest.

“Companies at all levels of readiness to restart, of all sizes, and in every part of the UK will need sustained government support as they navigate the ‘new normal’ with reduced demand and restrictions still in place.

"Many support schemes will need to be adapted and updated, but must not be withdrawn prematurely.”