Newham marks so-called Freedom Day with most Covid-19 restrictions ending

The Stratford Centre

Newham has marked so-called Freedom Day as most of the government's Covid-19 restrictions end. - Credit: Ken Mears

Businesses should follow a "common sense approach" with the ending of most Covid-19 restrictions.

That was the message from the chairman of Newham Chamber of Commerce speaking on so-called Freedom Day - Monday, July 19.

The milestone marks the final stage in the government's roadmap towards unlocking the country from measures brought in to tackle coronavirus.

On the unlocking in Newham, the Chamber of Commerce's Lloyd Johnson said: "From what I can see, it seems to be quite positive and buoyant.

"But the onus is on businesses now to ensure we are safeguarding our staff.

"As a nation, we're not quite out of the woods yet. A common sense approach needs to be adopted by businesses and clients."

He added firms are taking their lead from ministers, scientists and public health experts. Mr Johnson called for clarity from those in authority as firms navigate the months ahead.

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On reports of rising staff shortages nationally as workers are forced to self-isolate, Mr Johnson added: "Businesses are finding it tricky. We are likely to see an increase in self-isolation.

"If staff have to isolate - that is the uncertainty for businesses."

Newham saw 719 positive Covid-19 cases in the week to July 10, according to council figures. It recorded 590 the week before.

Figures for east London have also shown rising cases.

Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and the borough's director of public health, Jason Strelitz, have both urged people to carry on wearing face masks after July 19.

Coverings are no longer legally required in shops, on public transport or in other indoor public places though the government expects people to still wear them in enclosed and crowded spaces.

Lonodn Mayor Sadiq Khan has said face masks will still be compulsory on the capital's public transport network - Transport for London (TfL).

Mr Johnson, chairman of the chamber - which is to celebrate Newham businesses with the return of its annual awards in November - said: "We need a patient approach.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint. The last 18 months have shown us all that."