As we enter a period of further restrictions, many businesses and organisations are once again forced to close their doors.
Last week, ahead of the latest restrictions, I held a business specific advice surgery for enterprises and employees in Middlesbrough.
I heard from a bar owner uncertain about what level of stock to maintain, new businesses who were not eligible for Government support, taxi drivers who felt they were not being adequately supported and a wedding outfit shop owner who has since business plummet since March. All these people, and many, many more, have seen their livelihoods damaged.
Sadly, there are some businesses which will be unable to operate in any form during the next four weeks. It is imperative that they are given proper and timely financial Government support. That is crucial if they are to weather this latest storm.
For other businesses, there will be opportunities to trade, albeit in a different or limited capacity – and we can do our best to support them.
Shopping locally has obviously increased due to people not travelling. Internet searches for the likes of ‘local bike shop’ or ‘local chemist’ have grown as people seek out local amenities.
We can all do our bit to spread the word about local businesses and leave positive reviews where relevant. Many businesses who are not permitted to open at the moment will have an online presence and orders can often still be made. I would encourage all businesses to boost their online presence where possible, updating potential customers of all services they offer, operating hours etc.
We all want to do our bit to halt the spread of covid and we must adhere to these latest restrictions. At the same time, we can all do our bit, big or small, to support our local businesses through these immensely difficult times.