July 19: Extended restrictions will bring 'big costs' to our businesses

Howardsgate,, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: DANNY LOO

Welwyn Garden City's BID believes that businesses will have been left with big costs due to the short notice and month extension of the lockdown - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Businesses will be bearing the financial burden of the extension to lockdown restrictions, Welwyn Garden City's BID has warned.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the scheduled easing of lockdown restrictions on June 21 will be be pushed back until July 19 due to rising cases from the Delta variant.

This means restaurants and pubs will have to continue to operate under the same restrictions that were introduced on May 17.

The extension has met with warnings about the cost implications from Welwyn Garden City BID, which represents the town centre's businesses.

Manager Mariana Bitonte said: "The decision to delay the easing of restrictions is understandable and we want nothing more than to ensure the safety of the town’s workers, visitors and residents.

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"However, a month’s delay with just a week’s notice will bring big costs to bear by our businesses who are already vulnerable.


The new outdoor seating helps provide businesses who can't serve or host many people inside - Credit: WGC BID

"In order to give our businesses a chance to survive, we urge the Government to commit to extending business rates relief and the job protection scheme.

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"At the Welwyn Garden City BID we are doing all we can to assist our businesses with initiatives such as “Welwyn Garden City Al Fresco” providing extra seating to support our hospitality sector and enhance the experience of those visiting the town centre."

But the continuing restrictions won't impact Welwyn Hatfield's BIG Summer, which returns between August 2 and 22 with everything from arts to sports expected to take place in the borough’s parks, open spaces and town centres.

Graffiti Art, BMX Pump Track and a climbing wall are among the exciting events already confirmed. All events and activities will be added to the BIG Summer calendar on the council’s website.

Welwyn Hatfield’s BIG Summer 2020 took place throughout August. Picture: WHBC/ Kevin Lines

Welwyn Hatfield’s BIG Summer will be returning this year - Credit: WHBC/ Kevin Lines

Cllr Bernard Sarson, WHBC executive member for leisure and community safety, said: “Residents should feel confident that all BIG Summer activities are being held safely and within government guidelines.”

Local organisations and sports clubs that would like to run an activity for young people or families as part of BIG Summer should complete the form on Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s website (one.welhat.gov.uk/bigsummer) and email it to play@welhat.gov.uk by Friday July 23.

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