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Safety first for businesses on ‘freedom day’

Posted on: 16/07/2021

Dorset businesses remain cautious about Covid ahead of the full reopening of the economy on July 19, according to survey results.

The concerns were revealed in polls held during Dorset Chamber’s latest Simply Networking @9 event held online.

They showed that:

  • 71 per cent of people would rather not shake hands/have physical contact at business events at this time. Eighteen per cent were relaxed about it and 11 per cent were undecided
  • 28 per cent thought the government was right to relax requirements such as face masks and social distancing but 56 per cent thought it was the wrong time
  • 78 per cent thought there was inadequate guidance for businesses regarding ‘freedom day’
  • 62 per cent were concerned about the possibility of future restriction being introduced after ‘freedom day’

They come as the chamber prepares for its first face-to-face networking event in nearly 18 months on Tuesday July 20 when attendees will be asked to refrain from contact.

Dorset Chamber chief executive Ian Girling said: “Our survey results clearly indicated that many businesses remain cautious about Covid.

“The pandemic has not disappeared and businesses in Dorset are right to remain vigilant to keep their employees and customers safe.”

Ian added: “We are looking forward to welcoming people back in person for our first networking event since the start of the pandemic.

“We considered a scheme with coloured wrist bands to indicate how comfortable people would be with contact.

“However, to avoid any awkwardness we have asked delegates to refrain from any physical contact at all and this stance has been backed up by the survey results.

“We were the first chamber in the country to ask people not to shake hands at the start of the pandemic and all precautions will be in place at our networking event in July 27.

The face-to-face networking event on July 20 – fully booked out – is a Business Leaders Lunch at the Bournemouth Carlton Hotel.

Its speaker will be Cas Paton, founder of the rapidly growing online marketplace Onbuy.com.

Precautions at the event will include temperature checks on arrival, limited numbers at tables and social distancing.

Dorset Chamber will be running a mixture of virtual and face-to-face networking events for the foreseeable future.


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