With the news that all non-essential retailers are to reopen from Monday, June 15, businesses across Herefordshire & Worcestershire have welcomed this progress with 89 per cent of businesses, that have had discussions with the Chamber, who had temporarily closed or were operating at reduced capacity are looking to restart their business.

This is an important step not only in recovering the economy but also in returning to a version of our lives pre-lockdown, although some things may be a little different this news will be welcomed by most.

After months of uncertainty, this lifeline will hopefully provide smaller businesses with the cash flow that they are in desperate need of. This has been one of the most prevalent issues during the lockdown period for Members of the Chamber that we have communicated with, with many saying they will soon run out of reserve funds.

Government has listened to the concerns of businesses owners across the country as we now slowly move into the recovery phase of the coronavirus crisis, it is important for businesses and customers to familiarise themselves with the guidelines and follow them in order to slowly and safely return to a new normal.

The business environment that we all once knew will not recover to a state of true normality for a while, however with this news it shows the slow progress that the country is making in reducing the infection. Whilst customers will be happy to visit their favourite shops again, business too will be relieved that they finally will be bringing in some much-needed cash into the business that has been lacking in recent months.

With limits on how many people are allowed in and indeed how they move around, these businesses will certainly look different from a few months ago. The health and safety of staff and customers should be of paramount importance to business owners, some may need to change the way they operate in order to adhere to guidelines set out.

Of the businesses that have spoken to us, 39 per cent of those looking to restart their business feel they face difficulties returning to work safely.

They also feel they need detailed social distancing information to re-open safely. There is a real thirst for clear guidelines on expectations and how to trade.

Businesses must be adaptable and innovative in the way they operate, previous ways of doing business may be impossible and it will be this innovation that will start rebuilding the foundations of the economy and guide businesses through the next phase of the crisis.

If you are in need of further advice on how the new guidelines may affect your business, please do get in touch by calling the Coronavirus Business Support Hub on 01905 673600.