As COVID restrictions began to be eased this week, the government simply must give business far more clarity over proof of vaccination for employees.
This is a hot potato but with the prospect of all COVID restrictions being lifted from 21 June, action is needed urgently.
That urgency is highlighted in a survey of more than 1,000 businesses carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce, of which Business West is a leading member.
It found that only 5% of the firms have rules requiring customers or employees to provide proof of vaccination.
The survey also found that firms with more than 50 staff were more likely than smaller firms to either have implemented or be considering introducing requirements for proof of vaccination.
But nearly 7 in 10 (69%) still have no plans to do so.
And when asked what COVID-19 measures they expected to have in place or implement over the next 12 months, the highest response rate was social distancing at 76%.
Working practices seem set to continue to be disrupted with 46% of the businesses reporting the continued expectation of changes to their workplace, including screens or socially distanced arrangements.
Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“This research shows that government must quickly clarify what measures will be required for businesses to maintain safety standards after we reach the final stage of the roadmap on 21 June.
“In particular, they must resolve the ongoing debate around the use of vaccine certification, providing clear and decisive guidance to business.
“Right now, many businesses are working on the assumption that they will be continuing with a variety COVID-secure measures over the next 12 months including social distancing, mask wearing and various other interventions.
“Many of these measures come at a cost to business and can restrict firms’ ability to trade at full capacity”.
These are wise and timely words.
Companies have worked wonders during COVID.
For the safety of their employees and customers they must not let their guard down now at what hopefully appears to be the final hurdles of the pandemic.