London Businesses Welcome July 19 Reopening—But New Risks Remain

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “London Businesses Welcome July 19 Reopening—But New Risks Remain” – below is their description.

    Businesses have been been clamoring for the government to finally reopen the U.K. economy. Now that face masks and social distancing will be all but dropped, they have a new set of worries.

    Industry groups, big and small, largely welcomed U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s much-anticipated plan to ease Covid-19 restrictions on July 19. But there was also a healthy dollop of skepticism. Yes, it’s good news for many pubs and night clubs — but there is also the issue of liability surrounding infections in the workplace.

    The reality on the ground is that the premier’s approach of learning to live with the virus, risks putting him in conflict with both businesses, who want clearly-defined rules, and big-city mayors, who see a duty to protect workers and consumers in a services-driven economy.

    The danger is that a lack of rules will lead to a free-for-all attitude with virus cases rising. Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said it will be “critical” to build both customer and employee confidence and that the government has a “vital” role to play in providing guidance to employers. The big question remains: Will consumers come back?

    Danker’s carefully-modulated words are far from a ringing endorsement of a politician who famously said “f**k business” back in 2018 and who has struggled to win the corporate world over to his post-Brexit vision since becoming leader. The pandemic forced three lockdowns and much soul-searching until a speedy vaccine rollout restored Johnson’s standing in the public’s eye.

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