Chamber boss: Businesses 'unconvinced' another lockdown will not happen

Michael Pritchett, chair of Redbridge Chamber of Commerce.

Michael Pritchett, chairman of Redbridge Chamber of Commerce. - Credit: Michael Pritchett

The chairman of Redbridge Chamber of Commerce has said some of its members are sceptical that there will not be another lockdown.

Michael Pritchett told the Recorder there is still a lot of caution among businesses despite most legal restrictions being lifted on so-called Freedom Day on July 19.

The move, which has come despite rising coronavirus case rates across the country, has enabled venues such as nightclubs to reopen.

But Michael, who heads up the body which represents businesses in the borough, said Monday's lifting does not have much of an impact on most Redbridge businesses.

He felt the May 17 easing, which allowed many places to re-open, was "the really important one".

He said: "I think this final lifting is not affecting that much as they (businesses) have already taken steps.

"The thing is, night clubs and other venues that it might affect, there's not many in the area anymore.

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"I think on the whole, the feeling is what has happened has already happened."

Michael said some of the group's members "aren't overly convinced" that there will not be another lockdown.

He felt that there is "lots of caution" among businesses and customers and felt that places may keep restrictions as a result.

"Lots of shops have put measures in place, they've spent a lot of money putting them in place - screens and so on - so they're not going to take them down instantly."

He is director of Kemp Services, a cleaning company which provides for domestic and commercial clients, including offices.

The government has ended the instruction telling people to work from home - but Michael does not expect a rush back to office working.

He believes workers not returning to the office full-time will be detrimental to the borough's town centres.

"Shops like nail parlours, hairdressers, coffee shops - where you simply have to go - I think they are the ones in a better position," he said.

He said his firm will be handling mask-wearing among its staff on a case-by-case basis.