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New Covid restrictions are a ‘setback for businesses’, warns CBI

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New restrictions in England aimed at limiting the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 are a ‘setback for businesses’ the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned.

The new rules, require masks in most public places, including theatres and cinemas. In addition, people will be asked to work from home where possible

From the 15 December the NHS Covid Pass will also be required for visitors to nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people.

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: ‘Fresh restrictions are a big setback for businesses, particularly for those in hospitality and retail who are in a critical trading period, as well as others such as transport.

‘While Covid certification can support public health, careful implementation and enforcement will be required to assist businesses affected.

‘It will be vital that the impact of these restrictions is closely monitored, and that the government is ready with targeted support as required.

‘Omicron will quite likely not be the last variant. We need to create consistency in our approach and build confidence by reducing the oscillation between normal life and restrictions. Prioritising daily testing, rather than self-isolation, is a good step. Firms need continued forward guidance and a commitment from government to prioritise ongoing free, mass rapid testing as we learn to live with the virus.’