Do not desert Wolverhampton traders amid local lockdown, urge business leaders

Business leaders have urged people not to desert local traders when new lockdown measures come into force tomorrow.

Shoppers on Dudley Street, Wolverhampton
Shoppers on Dudley Street, Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton is being placed into local lockdown in a bid to reduce the spiralling number of cases in the city, meaning people are barred from meeting others who are not part of their household or support bubble, in homes or gardens.

Some businesses have welcomed the measures, while others have raised concerns that footfall will plummet if the lockdown drags on.

Sham Sharma, chairman of Wolverhampton Business Forum, said that the restrictions were likely to adversely affect businesses that were already struggling due to the pandemic.

"Footfall has nosedived already in Wolverhampton," said Mr Sharma, who also sits on the city's intervention committee.

"The new measures will not do any favours for already struggling businesses in Wolverhampton.

"We want to get out the message that businesses are open and we want people to come in sensible numbers."

He said the forum was asking the city council to look at issuing covid compliance certificates. "The idea is that businesses can display them to give the public confidence that they can go into a shop or restaurant," he added.

Shaun Keasey, chairman of the city's Pubwatch, praised the council for taking pre-emptive action against the rise in cases.

He said he hopes the measures will prevent the need for tighter restrictions, such as those implemented in the North East where pubs and restaurants have seen their opening hours cut back.

Mr Keasey said: "As far as I have seen, venues in the city centre have implemented strict social distancing measures and created a Covid safe environment.

"In Wolverhampton the majority of cases appear to have come from household gatherings. If you want to safe social drink in Wolverhampton then the pub is actually the safest place to go."

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