‘Long slog to May’: Harrogate businesses react to covid roadmap


Feb 22, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his roadmap out of lockdown to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon.

Businesses in the Harrogate district have given a mixed reaction to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s route out of lockdown restrictions today.

Mr Johnson outlined a four-phase “roadmap” that he said would be “cautious but irreversible”.

Step one will see schools re-open and care homes allow visits on March 8 and outdoor sports resume on March 29; step two will see non-essential retail and pubs and restaurants reopen non April 12; step three will see two households permitted to meet indoors and hotels and cinemas reopen on May 17; stage four will see all remaining restrictions lifted on June 21.

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Kimberly Wilson, chair of guesthouse association Accommodation Harrogate, welcomed bars and restaurants being in the same bracket as hotels.

She said:

“I’m glad to see that they are in the same strand so everything can reopen at the same time

“But we would want as much notice for reopening for hospitality. It takes time to get your ducks in a row.”

She hoped government offers support to hospitality businesses over the next few months before reopening.

Kim Wilson of the Camberley Hotel on Kings Road

Kim Wilson, of the Camberley Hotel on Kings Road, Harrogate.

Ms Wilson said measures such as an extension to the cut in VAT and the furlough scheme would help hospitality businesses survive.

But Paul Rawlinson, owner of Baltzersens cafe in Harrogate, said:

“We’re still in February and mid-May feels like a long way away. It’s a long, old slog. 

“We’ll pick ourselves back up and push on. In two or three months we might be in a more normal position.”

David Steca, owner of barbershop Steca No 6, said he was “fed up” with the restrictions.

He added:

“Hopefully we will receive more financial support if we are closed another seven weeks.”

Simon Colgan, owner of Harrogate’s Blues Bar, said:
“It’s nice to be able to start to plan towards a date.”

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said the district “can go into the spring sharing a strong sense of optimism but should continue our cautious approach”.

He added:

“Our emergence from the shadow of covid will throw up new challenges about preparation for the possibility of future pandemics, about the future of high street retail, about how we work, about how changes to human activity, demonstrated during the pandemic, affect the environment and many more challenges too.”

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