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18 Jan 2022

Derry Chamber of Commerce urges calm as new Covid variant sparks fears of another lockdown

Derry Chamber of Commerce urges calm as new Covid variant sparks fears of another lockdown

Derry Chamber of Commerce President, Dawn McLaughlin: "Any new lockdown is unthinkable and must be avoided."

The Derry Chamber of Commerce have urged politicians to be “conscious of the need for calm” in light of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Reports from South Africa last month highlighted the finding of the new variant with cases of people being diagnosed with it already being reported in Britain.

Concerns are that if Omicron spreads at a rapid rate, then extreme measures such as another lockdown could be taken by the Joint First Ministers at the Stormont Executive.

Should that happen, then the retail and hospitality sector could well take another financial hit – one that some businesses might not bounce back from.

Derry Chamber of Commerce President, Dawn McLaughlin said: “The full impact of the new Omicron variant is, as yet, unknown.

“While we understand and support the need to act quickly and decisively from government to minimise its potential impact, politicians should be conscious of the need for calm and ensure their messaging is measured to avoid undue anxiety.

“Businesses of all kinds have had a very difficult 21 months. This Christmas period is vital for traders as they look to recoup the losses they have suffered.

“Keeping the economy open and operating freely is crucial to this. Any new lockdown is unthinkable and must be avoided.

“Unclear and mixed messaging from Executive ministers over the past few weeks – with some saying further and harsher restrictions are needed, and others saying the closure of businesses isn’t going to happen – unduly raises concerns and confusion among business owners.

“It’s important that our elected representatives support our hard-hit businesses and provide them with the certainty and clarity they need to have a successful and prosperous Christmas trading period.”

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