Covid delay a 'blow to Hackney businesses' says Mayor

Hackney mayor Phil Glanville

Hackney mayor Philip Glanville. - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

The mayor of Hackney has said the four-week delay to lifting all lockdown restrictions, while "widely expected", will come as a "blow" to the borough's business community. 

The delay to lifting restrictions from June 21 was announced on Monday (June 14) by Boris Johnson, who cited the need to stop spread of the Delta variant

Hackney's mayor Philip Glanville backed the extension to restrictions but called on the government to extend its support to workers. 

Hackney Council will give businesses, who qualified for an Additional Restrictions Grant, a further £1,120 to support them through the period. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson making a televised address to the nation from 10 Downing Street. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson making a televised address to the nation from 10 Downing Street. - Credit: PA Video/PA Wire/PA Images

Mayor Glanville said: "While the news was in the end widely expected, it will have come as a bitter disappointment to many who had been looking forward to returning to a greater degree of normality following the toughest of 15 months."

He said it would come as a "particular blow" to Hackney's business community, badly hit as a result of closures and social distancing. 

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The mayor also called for the government to commit to topping-up the Restart Grant for music venues, bars and nightclubs.

He added: "We are calling on the government to extend the current support for businesses to cover the extension of lockdown restrictions, and for a new round of business support grants to aid the sectors that cannot open until all social distancing restrictions have been lifted."

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However, mayor Glanville said that despite the "difficulties and disappointment" that the lockdown extension will cause, he "strongly welcomed the decision".

"The time is not right to fully end lockdown; the stakes are simply too high," he said. 

"Sadly, infection rates are again going up across the borough, London, and the country, as a result of new, more transmissible variants circulating in our communities."

The Prime Minister has said he was confident restrictions would be lifted by July 19.

"It is unmistakably clear the vaccines are working and the sheer scale of the vaccine roll-out has made our position incomparably better than in previous waves," Mr Johnson told a conference. 

"But now is not the time to ease off the accelerator because by being cautious now we have the chance – in the next four weeks – to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people."

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