Ipswich businesses want clear route out of lockdown

Paul Clement

Paul Clement said businesses needed to know the route out of lockdown on Monday. - Credit: Archant

The man who represents town centre businesses in Ipswich has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to set out a clear "roadmap" out of lockdown - but does not expect any firm dates to be announced for the lifting of restrictions.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said it was vital for businesses to know what the route out of lockdown was - even if it was not possible to set down an exact timetable until the figures became clear.

He said: "Businesses need to know what data the government will be using to bring us out of the current situation. They need to know there is a clear path out of this and to ensure that this will be the last lockdown.

"I don't think there is any point in setting an arbitrary date because to do that could risk the need to go back into some kind of further lockdown if it was brought in prematurely - and that is what needs to be avoided at all costs.

"But we do need to know what figures the government will be looking at when it decides what is to happen next - we don't want to get into the situation there is in Northern Ireland where the First Minister has put off making a statement about coming out of lockdown until March."

Mr Clement said he was optimistic that with the number of cases, hospital admissions and deaths all falling - and the number of people receiving vaccines going up all the time - that once a roadmap was announced it should be possible for society to start to see restrictions eased.

He said it was important that everyone followed the Prime Minister's mantra of being led by the data, not by the date, but given the recent promising figures from the government, hoped that it would be possible for businesses to start opening up in the spring.

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Mr Johnson has promised to make a statement about the roadmap out of lockdown on Monday which is expected to include an announcement of the reopening of English schools for all pupils from March 8.

While he is not likely to announce further dates, he is likely to also talk about easing restrictions on non-essential shops, outdoor activities, meeting other people outside - and an indication of what conditions need to be met to allow the reopening of hospitality businesses.

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