Business group condemns lockdown roadmap confusion

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As two new Covid-19 vaccination sites open in Blackburn, the leader of a Lancashire business group says the county's roadmap out of lockdown is less than clear to businesses.

Pharmacy2U, the UK’s largest online pharmacy, has been called in by Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria to open sites at Penny Street Car Park and Royal Blackburn Hospital to boost the delivery of first and second doses.

The sites have opened this week admist growing fears regarding the Indian variant of the virus, which is thought to be particularly prevalent in Blackburn and Bolton. It is believed that the new variant spreads more easily than other forms of the virus.

Its rapid spread has put the prime minister's roadmap to re-opening the economy into question, with Frank McKenna, chief executive of Downtown in Business, leading calls for clarity.

"Business confidence has taken another hit over the last few days as it has become apparent that the route map which the prime minister insisted was ‘irreversible’ in February is indeed under review," said Frank.

He said that rumours of an extended lockdown, local lockdowns, or a tiered approach, had 'knocked the stuffing' out of the tourism and hospitality sector which has been largely unable to operate over the last year.

He also said that politicians had been sending mixed messages by championing the high rate of inoculation whilst also threatening further restrictive measures.

Frank said: "They are urging people to get jabbed, but at the same time appear to be undermining the efficacy of the vaccine. If most people in the vulnerable categories have been inoculated, people are asking why further restrictions are being threatened? Not for the first time, the government’s messaging is all over the place.

“For the sake of business confidence and for the sanity of many business owners, we need a much more consistent approach from the prime minister and his team.”

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