The roadmap from lockdown to something resembling normality has given us all a welcome lift, but perhaps none more so than business owners who have been closed or open under difficult circumstances for the majority of the 12 months.
Although we are champing at the bit to have our freedom back and make the most of it, we should still support local businesses and the independent traders on our doorstep, many of whom still face a precarious future.
The true impact of COVID-19 on our pubs, shops and Southwark’s economy will be felt in the coming months.
Already there are indications London’s population has stopped growing and has, in fact, begun to fall for the first time since the 1980s.
While the furlough scheme remains in place we don’t yet know the true scale of unemployment and redundancies.
We also don’t know how the combination of Brexit and COVID-19 may have impacted on key workers and staff shortages across key industries.
Many students have also been in limbo – will they return to their courses or chance the job market?
Are they going to move back or stay in London if they are struggling to pay for their course and see a bleak future ahead?
Pubs and hairdressers are delighted hopefully to reopen in the coming weeks but, as with previous lockdowns, there is a cost to setting up again in a COVID-19 secure way.
Not all pubs have outdoor areas and businesses with inflexible space or limited cover will always lose out.
If you are a business owner planning a big comeback and finding creative ways to keep running outdoors and within the lockdown restrictions, let us know.
We want to hear what plans you have for the run up to the end of lockdown, ‘Independence Day’ and what long-term survival looks like in a post-COVID world.