We hope you are keeping safe and well.
We are sure that many of you are following the news and are keeping up to date, but we just wanted to cover the pertinent points this week.
The government’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty has said in a recent government daily coronavirus briefing, that the UK will have to live with some disruptive social measures for the remainder of this year at least. Adding that the way forward will be a “highly effective vaccine” or drugs that will treat the disease. “So we have to accept that we are working with a disease that we are going to be with globally… for the foreseeable future”.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab spoke at that same briefing and said relaxing ’social distancing’ too soon would potentially risk a second spike of coronavirus cases. Saying that a second lockdown would “prolong the economic pain” across the UK.
So as things stand these safety measures will stay in place with a gradual relaxing allowing schools, some businesses and public transport to be reopened in the not too distant future.
The government’s economic package is really appreciated by the UKBCCI and we feel it is unprecedented . This government is supporting UK business. The job furlough scheme for businesses is now being rolled and the launch appears to be going smoothly. So far 140,000 UK companies have applied for this government aid.
The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, had said that the first million people being furloughed were at risk of losing their jobs without the government’s support. More businesses will be applying for the scheme in the coming days and weeks, but it’s reassuring to know that the scheme appears to be working. The measures were put in place to pay wages for threatened jobs due to staff not being able to work because of coronavirus. Under this programme, businesses can claim, through the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS), up to 80% of employees salaries from the state, up to a maximum of £2500 per month, plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions. Loans, tax relief and cash grants are also available. Self-employed people will receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months.
Details of how to apply for the Job Retention Scheme are here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
So, of those of us in the catering industry, we will have to brace ourselves for continued disruption to restaurants, cafes, bars etc. It is pleasing to see evidence though that restaurants offering takeaway for their customers are doing brisk business.
With Covid-19 comes an increased responsibility in hygiene safety measures. The government have information online that will greatly assist us and offer increased confidence to the buying public. Details are found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-food-businesses/guidance-for-food-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19
Our President, Bajloor Rashid MBE wanted to express his sincere thanks to the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh, along with British Airways and all Foreign Office staff members in London and Bangladesh for assisting in the first flight out of Bangladesh this week for British nationals. The UKBCCI and the whole of the British Bangladeshi community is grateful for the initiative that has been shown.
At the end of the day, business must go on and life must go on, but there will be definite changes to society as a result of this pandemic.
As a footnote to this message, there are some positives to be taken from the current way we are having to live. Families, as a whole in the UK, are benefitting from better interaction between family members as a result of the pandemic, the skies seem to be clearer and there seems to be a less frantic way we seem to be living our lives, the pace surely is better for our souls. We just need to find an effective vaccine and then we can return to a better form of normal, where we can work and play.
Take care and be safe.