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Cumbria prepares to get back to business

Cumbria prepares to get back to business Nigel Wilkinson, Chair of CLEP’s Visitor Economy Sector Panel

Cumbrians are being encouraged to support their local businesses to get up and running, as the economy gets set to fully re-open safely, following easing of the nationwide lockdown restrictions.

Across the UK, more people will be getting back to work from 15 June as the Government allows a wide range of shops across England to re-open following an earlier lifting of restrictions affecting car showrooms and outdoor markets.

It is also expected that other businesses in the visitor economy – such as pubs, cinemas, theatres, hotels and campsites – will be able to re-open in July.

This ‘re-start’ provides hope that the damage to Cumbria’s economy can start to be repaired.

Jo Lappin, Chair of the Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) of the Local Resilience Forum, responsible for developing the economic response to COVID-19, said: “Cumbria continues to re-open for business.

“Many of our businesses have been incredibly resilient and have continued to work safely throughout the lockdown, in a way that is COVID-Secure. We are now moving closer to the next phases of re-starting our economy with retail reopening on 15 June and our visitor economy starting to reopen in July 2020.

“BERRG is working to support our businesses to open in a way that is safe and COVID-Secure and protects our businesses, employees and importantly our residents. The economic impact on Cumbria has been significant with unemployment rising at the highest level since the current recording system began, with an 81% increase.

“Nationally, there are 8.7 million people furloughed on the Job Retention scheme, which equates to 32% of the private sector workforce. Our estimates suggest that the percentage of people furloughed in Cumbria could be even higher.

“It is therefore essential that we look to get our businesses and economy moving so that we can protect jobs and support people to get back to work.

“Our economic impact work also outlines how important sectors such as accommodation and food, recreation and leisure and non-food retail are to local communities with 22% of employment being in these sectors, with this as high as a third in some areas. Getting these businesses up and running is therefore critical to employment, services and the cultural life in our communities.”

Nigel Wilkinson, Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises and Chair of CLEP’s Visitor Economy Sector Panel, said: “The phased re-opening of the economy is very much welcomed as this allows our businesses time to make the necessary adjustments to their premises and working practices to create a safe place for their employees and customers. The visitor economy is a major employer in Cumbria and our businesses are committed to doing all they can to put safety and public protection first.

“We are very fortunate to have a beautiful and large rural location, which makes social distancing so much easier and we will be encouraging our visitors to experience all that Cumbria has to offer to minimise risk.

“Cumbria has always provided a really warm welcome and we would ask for our communities support in welcoming visitors back, old and new, to help us get our economy back up and running.”

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