The COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc across the country this year and once again it has struck but this time it is closer to home in Essex. Ever since the UK went into a nationwide lockdown, things haven’t been the same since and despite restrictions easing, it is looking like we are going backwards due to a rise in cases.
This week, the government has announced a new three tier system of local COVID alert levels in England which are medium, high and very high. Areas in a medium alert level can continue as they are, but those in the high and very high categories will have stricter restrictions.
Yesterday, Essex County Council announced that the county has been placed into the high alert level of restrictions which will certainly cause problems for businesses across the county.
Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council said; “We think the government has decided correctly and been guided by the science. The fact is that the number of cases in Essex is rising exponentially. We understand that the move to the high COVID alert level may affect people’s lives and businesses and we understand the very strong feelings about this.”
He continued: “However, we have a duty of care to the people of Essex, and we firmly believe that this is the best route to minimise disruptions, to save lives – not just for those with the virus, but for other patients as well – and to protect businesses.”
With Essex moving into the high alert level, this means different households will no longer be able to mix socially indoors which will have a significant impact on local pubs and restaurants.
Reporter Matt North, a resident of Stansted, visited the Kings Arms pub in the village to speak to landlady Fay Frostick about her views on the new restrictions.
The Kings Arms has recently been refurbished at a cost of around £600,000 and reopening on August 9. Fay said; “I feel it can go two ways as people like to come in and socialise meanwhile even before the new restrictions, there was a slight drop in business because of the mask rules which made people more concerned.”
When asked about how long the pub could carry on under these restrictions, Faye responded: “I have no choice unfortunately, we will look at the labour costs but as a new business, we will have to cut our employers’ hours. Of course I fear us closing but sadly, there is no much we can do about it.”
Various businesses have already suffered since the start of the pandemic although most places have implemented a takeaway service which can help keep them trading. It is vital that we support our local businesses.