Businesses today voiced disappointment as Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed “Freedom Day” by at least four weeks.
At a press conference last night, Mr Johnson revealed that the plan to lift all Covid restrictions on June 21 will be pushed back to July 19.
The announcement means a number of restrictions will remain in place, including capacity limits for sports, pubs and cinemas, as well as social distancing measures and masks – in a devastating blow to some businesses.
The delay has meant that nightclubs will not be allowed to reopen on June 21.
Parviz Marseh, director of the Actors nightclub on Maiden Street, Weymouth, is ‘disappointed’ that the goalposts for lifting the lockdown restrictions have been moved, costing him and his business dearly.
He said: âSince we were able to reopen again in May, we have had to treat the actors like a pub instead of a nightclub and cover our two dance floors with tables and chairs, which is not. what it is supposed to be.
“It also caused a lot of staff issues as we have to do table service and we need extra security to make sure everyone is wearing their mask and staying seated so we had to hire more staff, which is expensive. I was hoping June 21 was gonna be the day we could lift all the restrictions but I guess not. I’m a little bit disappointed but we’ll just have to wait a bit longer. ”
Rosie Barrett, a wedding planner who organizes events in Dorset, had worried about the announcement as it revealed that a couple had been forced to postpone their wedding twice and that its suppliers such as florists, pastry chefs, caterers and photographers suffered from the restrictions, which she described as “devastating”.
But the prime minister said weddings could have more than 30 guests – the current limit – despite restrictions remaining in place.
Craig Oakes, president of the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, is sympathetic to industries that cannot fully reopen, but believes we must all continue to follow the rules.
He said: âFrom a health perspective, there is an increase in infections, so we have to stick to the guidelines.
âHowever, I really feel sorry for the people and the industries that still can’t function like festivals and nightclubs. They must be absolutely pissed off.
“The ripple effect of these businesses that remain closed and hurt our economy is awful.”