Business leaders in Liverpool have signed an open letter to 15,000 firms, backed by acting Mayor Wendy Simon, asking them to redouble their efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Tony McDonough reports
Business leaders in Liverpool have written an open letter to 15,000 firms in the city urging them to go “all in” to help check the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 cases across Liverpool city region have reached record highs in the past couple of weeks. And, although there are signs the lockdown may be bringing cases down again, Liverpool is still hovering just below 1,000 cases in every 100,000 people – a dangerously high level.
While many businesses in the city have been at the forefront of helping to stop the spread, there remains a concern that some employers are to fully heeding the message about employees needing to work from home wherever possible. The letter also urges proper protection for those people who do have to come into work.
Supported by Liverpool’s acting Mayor, Wendy Simon, the signatories to the letter are Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, Paul Askew and Marcus Magee, co-chairs, Liverpool Hospitality Association, Chris Brown, director of Marketing Liverpool, Paul Cherpeau, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Frank McKenna, chief executive of Downtown in Business and Andrew Ruffler, chief executive of Professional Liverpool.
The letter asks businesses to follow a five-point plan designed to protect both their employees and their customers. The five points are:
- Adopt working from home in all instances where it is feasible to do so.
- Adapt working practices to review and further strengthen COVID-resistant measures and minimise interaction.
- Support employees who need to assume care responsibilities.
- The wearing of 3-ply masks and encourage regular testing of staff.
- Access all available support options and schemes to sustain businesses ahead of a gradual and ultimately wider reopening of the economy.
With the vaccines still at least two months away from inoculating the most vulnerable, the letters says the city has entered the darkest period in the fight to curb the pandemic and that the business community can lead the counter-attack.
It ends by asking businesses to adopt and embrace the simple mantra – ‘Stay home; protect the NHS; save lives’ to help Liverpool through to its recovery.
Andrew Ruffler said: “Some parts of the Liverpool city region economy are functioning with a semblance of business as usual, while others, like leisure and hospitality, are in an incredibly difficult situation.
“For our collective future, it’s clear that we have to redouble our efforts to get this highly infectious virus under control. As a business community and as individuals it comes down to personal responsibility and doing everything thing we can to stay at home, protect the NHS, and control the virus.”
And Cllr Simon added: “Our business community is hurting and thousands of companies are quite literally hanging on by their fingernails. This lockdown will be here with us for some weeks to come and we know everyone is fed up, especially those who have been furloughed and those who fear they may have no job to go back to.
“And yet, many businesses are still in operation and given the speed this new strain of the virus is spreading we need a huge individual and collective effort to help reign it in and bring it back under control.”