There has been widespread support by business leaders for the lifting of the lockdown.
Reacting to the NI Executive Plan, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “This is a step forward to move towards the lifting of lockdown and the reopening of the economy. Retail NI looks forward to working with the NI Executive on its implementation.
“We welcome that reopening of non-food retail is included as a key step, however, what those businesses will need is a date to plan for. The plan for England includes early June as a target date for those retailers to reopen and we believe this is achievable for Northern Ireland with appropriate social distancing.
“If more workers are returning to work in retail and other key sectors, then we can make appropriate childcare provision. This needs to a key priority.
“This document is welcome progress, but business needs key dates and times to prepare for the gradual reopening of the economy. We fully recognise that all of this is subject to medical advice and protection for workers and consumers”.
IoD responds to furlough extension.
Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement of an extension to the furlough scheme (JRS) yesterday, Edwin Morgan, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “A furlough extension will bring significant relief to employers and workers across the country.
“We’re delighted the Treasury has taken on the IoD’s consistent calls for a flexible furlough. Many firms will be operating far below normal capacity for the foreseeable future.
“A part-time furlough provides a much-needed launch ramp so businesses can start to get back up to speed. A more flexible approach will allow firms to raise activity levels in tandem with demand, helping to avoid cashflow challenges.
“We now need further clarity around employers’ contributions. Many firms that would normally be on strong footing are still in dire straits.
“The extension puts yet more onus on helping those who have been left out in the cold. Countless small company directors have found scant support, and government shouldn’t turn a blind eye to them.”
There still may be some disparities between the devolved regions, however, the business community needs to get back on its feet as soon as possible.