Responding to reports that outdoor zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas will be able to re-open from Monday, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “It’s a huge relief to see more and more small businesses reopening their doors each week. The Government’s guidance on doing so safely is fair, proportionate and has thankfully been compiled with input from the business community.
“As we increasingly look to recovery – and hopefully the return of outdoor restaurant, pub and café spaces as early as next month – we need to see social distancing guidelines kept under constant review. Many in the hospitality and leisure sectors simply won’t be able to turn a profit if the blanket two metre rule remains in place.
“Small businesses across some European countries have benefitted from a shortening of this distancing benchmark as part of unlocking processes. If the UK experts say a similar move is possible here, then we need to see that change enacted. Time is of the essence during these critical summer months. In lieu of a shortening, policymakers need to look at wider risk-based approaches.
“It must be recognised that reopening safely comes at a cost to small businesses. That’s why we’re calling for the introduction of back to work vouchers for small and micro firms to help cover these additional outgoings after months of little or no revenue.
“The raft of emergency government measures brought in to support the small business community have protected millions of livelihoods. Now we need to look to the longer-term, and the reduction in employment costs, investment in infrastructure and skills, and tax reform that will be needed to bring us out of this recession. We look forward to engaging with government to outline the interventions that will be most impactful.”