Small businesses in Carlisle face new unforeseen challenges as the government tries to revive the economy despite a surge in Covid-19 cases in early July.
Under the pressure, over 1,000 more Carlisle workers left their vacations in June, figures show, before state support for white-collar workers is cut.
The Resolution Foundation said it was vital that as many workers on leave be returned to work as soon as possible in order to limit the rise in unemployment after the program ends.
The latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs show that as of June 30, 2,500 Carlisle-based workers were on leave – 5% of all eligible employees. That was 1,200 fewer than the 3,700 who were on leave at the end of May.
The number of workers still on leave fell to 1.9 million in June – the lowest level since the pandemic began. The June numbers are the last before the program began shifting more burdens from the Treasury to business.
From Sunday (August 1st) employers will pay 20% of the vacation pay until the regulation expires at the end of September.
Although the number of people participating in the program fell below 2 million for the first time, the Resolution Foundation said the economyâs reliance on vacation was still a “cause for concern”.
Charlie McCurdy, think tank economist, said, âWith employer contributions for employees on leave doubling and the program expires entirely in just two months, it is important that as many employees on leave get back to work as soon as possible to keep pace with the surge in employees Limit unemployment this fall. ”
The number of vacationers has fallen since January when 5.1 million workers were stranded at home.
But things improved with the lifting of lockdown restrictions that had prevented companies from trading normally or even opening at all.
Following the reopening of indoor hospitality in May, the hotel and restaurant sector saw the highest number of UK workers leaving their holidays in June.
This was also the case in Carlisle, where the number of hotel employees on leave fell by 520 from 1,090 to 570.
Given the number of employees affected by the ongoing effects of Pingdemic, this poses a new problem for companies.
Carole Johnston, manager of popular John Watt’s coffee house, previously described how the surge in the number of cases affected her business and increased worries for employees and businesses during this period, creating a new challenge for small businesses in the area.
âWe lost a roaster, but if we lost both roasters we would have problems.
“The Bank Street Shop is open, but we are not working at full capacity. We are still working at 65-70% of what we were two years ago. This has hurt our profitability and the loss of employees would have a significant impact.” on us, so we have sleepless nights.
âOur team was fantastic, we had to bring people in for our wholesale service during the pandemic, but I can’t thank them enough.
Halston Hotel and Penny Blue Restaurant owner Jann Besombes also explained the difficulties they faced regarding staff shortages.
âIt was really, really difficult. It all started with the restrictions lifted as the business filled with customers. At the same time, however, we had employees who had to isolate due to contact with Covid cases.
“I had to isolate myself for five days, and so did our sous-chef, so we missed key people. So we had to close the Penny Blue restaurant for three days.”
Dianne Irving, who owns three local pubs in Stanwix, including The Howard Arms, The Milbourne Arms and The Crown Inn, explained how the easing of the vacation program has affected her business.
She expressed belief that trade will likely pick up in the coming months and remains confident that the hospitality industry is now on the long road to recovery.
âThe vacation program is of course not without costs. So obviously there are still costs to employers. A lot of people didn’t do that, but we kept our teams together. I would say we haven’t been on the vacation program for about two or three months since we had the chance to open up to customers again.
She added, âWe hired new staff just to cover this time. I think we hopefully see a return to normal business. The lifting of the restrictions has helped a lot and I think we will see some positive things for the hospitality industry as trade and customer confidence begin to rise again. ”
For Steve Matthews, who owns the famous Carlisle bookstore Bookends in addition to the Bookcase second-hand store and CafÃ© Cakes & Ale, the future of the city’s main street is now looking brighter.
He said: Well, I can only comment on the situation of my own company, but we are seeing that customer trust is returning. Fortunately, we’re pretty busy. Basically everyone is working the way they are again and we are running a lot like before the lockdown.
Mr. Martin raised some concerns about the future of small businesses in the city, but also urged the community to continue to support popular venues in the area where they can.
âIt’s a very, very unpredictable time. Obviously, it will not take a year or two for us to fully see the impact the entire pandemic will have on small businesses, and that is where we will also see where the peak road is.
“Until then, we need the support of the public, which was great during that time.
âI’m reasonably confident about the situation. Of course, the situation has been pretty dire lately, but the new influx of people visiting Carlisle for stays and day trips offers a glimpse into the future in my opinion.
He added, âOur business seems as lively as ever with this new influx and our cafe looks great. I hope we get back to normal now, and I hope other companies are too.
âThe worrying thing would be that big corporations have suffered, but High Street will become a social place I believe. I hope there will be a shift towards people who travel more domestically and our companies are well positioned to benefit from it. ”