The discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has many people beginning to worry, and understandably so - after all, it wasn’t long ago that the Delta variant arrived and majorly disrupted the country’s journey back to normality.
COSBOA CEO Alexi Boyd said “We’ve been here before. The best thing governments can do for small business is to provide as much certainty and clarity as possible.
"Small business owners want to be able to assure their employees, their customers – and themselves – that their business premise is safe.”
Ms Boyd continued “At this stage, we don’t know how much of a threat this variant is. But even if we just wait and see, community anxiety and confusion can still have a negative effect on small businesses by causing consumers to change their travel and spending habits.
“Small businesses are ready to step up and help keep their communities safe, but they need to know with certainty what they can do, what they’re required to do, and what they can’t do regarding vaccination mandates, mask mandates, density limits, cleaning, and contact tracing.”
“If any of the rules tighten, this needs to be communicated with as much notice as possible and backed up by official government publications. A few hours’ notice isn’t good enough.
“If the variant turns out not to be dangerous, then that needs to be communicated far and wide to dispel community anxiety.”
Ms Boyd added “While we are all hoping for the best, we still need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Small businesses need to know what support will be available to them if that devastating scenario arrives so that they can plan for the future.
If possible, the planned support should be nationally consistent and follow the same mechanism and application process as previous support packages to make it as familiar and efficient as possible.”