Calls for furlough flexibility as businesses count the cost of delayed reopening

Home UK Calls for furlough flexibility as businesses count the cost of delayed reopening
Calls for furlough flexibility as businesses count the cost of delayed reopening

Businesses hoping to reopen after the coronavirus lockdown have been told they will remain closed for now, despite the furlough scheme beginning to wind down.

Bowling alleys, casinos, skating rinks, and beauty salons offering close-contact services like facials, had been scheduled to welcome customers today for the first time since lockdown, while small wedding receptions, and indoor performances were set to resume.

Their doors will stay shut for at least two more weeks after an increase in COVID-19 cases in England.

Image: Bowling alleys will have to wait longer to reopen

Under the furlough scheme, the government has covered 80% of staff salaries up to £2,500 each month since March – but that support is due to decrease before the scheme ends in October.

From this month, employers must pay national insurance and pension contributions for their employees, as part of a gradual tapering of the scheme.

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But despite the uncertainty for those still furloughed, the rising rate of new coronavirus infections has forced the government to delay the reopening of some businesses.

Cherry Woods, a skin clinic owner, is one of those who was hoping to be back at work, having not made any money for more than four months.

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She told Sky News: "When we were due to go back on the 1st of August, I was elated and happy and now I just can't see when we're going to get an honest date. I've given up a little bit of hope really.

"It's heart-breaking to move an incredibly good, busy working day that I'd been absolutely longing for.

"To just wave goodbye to that day and wait another two weeks, at the earliest, is devastating."

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She added: "I absolutely love what I do. My clients are wonderful and the idea that I'm losing business because of the lack of understanding of this industry is heart-breaking for me.

"By the time I eventually go back, I will not have worked for five months while still paying rent and it's not cheap. My business has been decimated."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that he had to "squeeze the brake pedal" on the easing of restrictions because COVID-19 was becoming more prevalent in the community.

But the Labour Party warned bosses were now facing the "stark choice" of firing staff or paying a "hefty financial burden" to keep them in employment unless the government adopted a more flexiRead More – Source

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