Simon Jones: War footing
Author: Simon Jones
As I write this, Optician is in the middle of readying its team for what looks to be a prolonged period of remote working. There shouldn’t be any disruption to your weekly supply of industry news and features, but if there’s one thing that is certain at the moment, situations change in an instant.
While Optician is agile enough to meet the demands of current circumstances, practices on the front line are left with very few options and a worrying outlook.
At present, many practices are remaining open with heightened sanitisation measures and patient symptom screening, but with those over the age of 70 having been told to stay at home for at least the next 12 weeks, increased social distancing among the rest of the population and prioritisation of essentials items over routine healthcare, it’s difficult not to be gravely concerned for many optical businesses.
Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a €300bn package to help prop up small businesses in the post Covid-19 era. Worryingly, our own government seemingly wants only to advise the public not to visit pubs, clubs and theatres, leaving those industries in peril. Advice to avoid non-essential contact has also muddied the picture.
The government has said it would support businesses that experience increased costs or disruptions to their cashflow, through business rates reliefs, a £1bn coronavirus business interruption loan scheme and a £2.2bn grant scheme for small businesses, and a dedicated helpline for those who need a deferral period on their tax liabilities. Hopefully these measures will be promptly reviewed up – the situation remains fluid after all.
We really are in unprecedented times. I wish everyone good health and best of luck for the coming months.