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Tourism chief urges Government to bring forward reassessment of tier system

Helen Peters
Helen Peters

The chief executive of Shakespeare’s England has warned that many businesses may be forced to stay closed ahead of the important Christmas season unless the Government offers increased support and brings forward plans to re-assess Coventry and Warwickshire’s Tier 3 rating.

Helen Peters, who also leads the Culture and Tourism Business Group of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, has written to Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi, stressing that placing the entire county in Tier 3 means many businesses are now in a battle to survive.

She is calling for the Government to bring forward its reassessment of the tier system by one week to 9 December and to assess South Warwickshire under its own functioning geography.

Peters also urges the Government to substantially increase the funding available for businesses forced to close to make it financially viable for them reopen for the profitable Christmas season and to protect them through the first quarter of 2021.

She said: “Tourism, hospitality and all our heritage venues and attractions have been devastated by the effects of the pandemic. Many were just about seeing a pin prick of light at the end of a very long tunnel and looking towards welcoming audiences back,” she says.

“This has been taken away yet again leaving many with no other decision than to remain closed into the New Year. They need to protect what little viability they have left and cannot risk potentially opening to operate at a loss just adding to their problems.

“With this time of the year being so important for building the cash to finance them through the winter off season, the major concern is that many will simply not reopen.

“Even if we were re-graded to Tier 2 after 16 December, this still prevents the ‘Christmas bubbles’ enjoying Christmas lunch out or mixing together anywhere inside other than their own home.

“Our hotels and restaurants have again had thousands of pounds worth of business wiped off their books. It will also be far too late to change plans yet again even to welcome same households or existing bubbles. The damage is done and now it is all about survival.

“The sector may be seen as part of the problem at the moment but moving forward we are definitely a big part of the solution.”

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