C&W Chamber: Frequent mass testing needed in all workplaces

Tuesday 24th of November 2020 09:47 AM

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

Business leaders across Coventry and Warwickshire are echoing calls for workplaces to be one of the areas prioritised for frequent mass testing.

When revealing the government’s ‘Covid Winter Plan’, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the national lockdown will end on December 2, and be replaced by a revised set of tiered measures that are designed to see the country through to next spring.

Tier One will see people continuing to work from home where possible, Tier Two will only allow pubs to open if they are serving meals, while Tier Three will only enable hospitality businesses to open for takeaways and all indoor entertainment must close.

Downing Street also confirmed that from next month there will be weekly Covid tests for staff in prisons, food manufacturers and those delivering and administering vaccines – and the British Chambers of Commerce is urging this approach to be rolled out to all businesses to offer long-term stability for the UK economy.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s reassuring to see that  there is now a light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine, but the crucial question is how do we get there?

“Without a definitive timescale on when society will be fully re-opened and the potential that businesses could be faced with conditions similar to that of a national lockdown beyond December 2, now is the time for businesses to be included in any mass testing programmes.

“What businesses need right now is stability and the ability to plan ahead, and being able to have their workplaces tested on a regular basis would really help to provide that and safeguard livelihoods across every sector until a vaccine is approved.”

BCC Director General Adam Marshall added: “It is helpful that the Prime Minister has heeded our call to give businesses at least a week’s notice of the rule changes that will affect firms across England from December 2nd. 

“Businesses across England now need to see the detail – and will judge the latest set of Covid rules on whether they are easy to understand and based on clear, transparently-presented evidence.

“They need to know that the new rules will be accompanied by commensurate support, by a significant expansion of mass testing, particularly to workplaces across the country, and by a plan to get the economy fully open again. 

“The reduction of time in quarantine for international passengers will help to re-establish connections to key markets and trade partners across the world, helping businesses that depend on the UK's connectivity and preserving industries and livelihoods.

“Ministers can’t simply keep switching businesses on and off like a light switch without expecting severe consequences. Covid-secure businesses will be looking to the government for a plan that keeps them, and the economy, open throughout winter and beyond.”

Caption: Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce