Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed today’s Government announcement of an end to ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions in England.

People will no longer be told to work from home when the measures lapse on Thursday next week, and mandatory Covid certification will also end.

The wearing of face masks will no longer be mandatory anywhere from next Thursday, but remain recommended, the Prime Minister has confirmed.

Richard Sheehan, Shropshire Chamber’s chief executive: “Businesses will welcome this news – although it’s important that we don’t become too complacent and think this means the Covid era is behind us.

“We know that many Shropshire companies are still experiencing significant staff absences due to positive tests, and will want to be cautious about rushing people back to the office too quickly.

“However, and end to the Government’s ‘work from home’ guidance is a signal that things are improving, and will be welcomed by businesses in our town centres which rely on footfall from office workers.

“The removal of a requirement for vaccine passports will also be viewed as a positive for our companies involved in Shropshire’s events sector and night-time economy.”

Mr Sheehan echoed the British Chamber of Commerce’s call for longer-term clarity from the Government over the coming days.

“We need to know about the longer-term contingency plans to support firms, in the event that a new variant creates a fresh wave of serious infections and requires a return of restrictions.

“Uncertainty and insecurity is the enemy of business, and we must do everything in our power to avoid more confusion which creates a loss of confidence.”

The Chamber is also calling for testing capacity to be maintained, with reports continuing to emerge of businesses struggling to access rapid testing when they need it.